Breeja Larson celebrates winning the 100-yard breaststroke at the NCAA women's swimming and diving championships on Friday, March 16, 2012, in Auburn, Ala. (AP Photo/Todd J. Van Emst)
Reid Priddy (volleyball, Olympic gold medalist)
Sarah Elizabeth Robles, from the United States, lifts 112 kg in the snatch of the women's +75 kg weightlifting competition at the Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico, Thursday, Oct. 27, 2011. AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)
Paityn Gaines, 3, gets her photo take with Gilbert gymnast Alex Naddour. Naddour, an alternate to the U.S. Gymnastics team, leaves Thursday for London with his dad-coach Mike Naddour. USA Youth Fitness Center, where Naddour trains, put on a send-off for the pair Tuesday night. More than 300 people attended the event. The Olympic men’s qualifying events begin July 28, with the women’s qualifying events starting July 29.
- US Olympic athletes with EV ties
Sport --- Athlete --- East Valley connection
Gymnastics --- Alex Naddour --- Gilbert (Highland HS)
Swimming --- Breeja Larson --- Mesa (Mountain View HS)
Track/Field --- Will Claye --- Ahwatukee (Mountain Pointe HS)
Volleyball --- Reid Priddy --- Ahwatukee (Mountain Pointe HS)
Weightlifting --- Sarah Robles --- Mesa
- ASU in London:
Current or former Arizona State University athletes in London include: Alison Williamson (archery, Great Britain), Eric Boateng (basketball, Great Britain), Ike Diogu (basketball, USA), James Harden (basketball, USA), Micky Benedetti (diving, Italy), Riley McCormick (diving, Canada), Amy LePeilbet (soccer, USA), Gal Nevo (swimming, Israel), Kyle Alcorn (track/field, USA), Desiree Davila (track/field, USA), Amy Hastings (track/field, USA), Donald Sanford (track/field, Israel), Ryan Whiting (track/field, USA), Gao Ao (water polo, China), Rita Keszthelyi (water polo, Hungary), Rowie Webster (water polo, Australia), Kelsey Campbell (wrestling, USA)
- On TV
Opening Ceremony airs 6:30 p.m. tonight on NBC (Ch. 12) (Closing Ceremony Aug. 12)
Posted: Friday, July 27, 2012 10:47 am
Updated: 8:31 am, Tue Jul 31, 2012.
Mesa native Breeja Larson certainly turned heads last month when she won the 100-meter breaststroke at the U.S. Olympic Trials.
“I never heard of her before. Ever.” That’s what world record holder Jessica Hardy had to say after Larson darted past the field to earn her first Olympic invite.
Much of the world tuning in to tonight’s 2012 Summer Olympics opening ceremony likely won’t know Larson’s name, either. But they’ll have their chance to get more acquainted with the Mountain View High School product and national college champion — and the more than 60 athletes or coaches with Arizona ties, including nearly two dozen with East Valley connections — over the next 16 days of competition.
Former Mountain Pointe High School track star Will Claye also has the chance to become a household name, as does weightlifter Sarah Robles of Mesa — considered by many the strongest woman in the United States.
“Five years ago, if you told me I was going to the Olympics,” she said recently, “I would have told you that you were crazy.”
Friday, July 27, 2012 10:47 am.
Updated: 8:31 am.