Great Lakes Athletes in the London Olympics

By: Scott McMahon

The time came once again for the world to come together in the spirit of competition. The Games of the XXX Olympiad ran from July 27 to August 12 in London, England, and featured many of the best athletes from around the world.

Thousands of athletes donned their countries’ flags and colors in one of the ultimate signs of patriotism and loyalty. During the Games, fans and athletes alike eagerly anticipated the coming of the next great Olympic hero. While no individual delivered in London like Michael Phelps did in Beijing, nations and athletes alike took pride in their spotlight and performances on the world stage.

Within the United States, coaches in all 39 sports and disciplines spent years scouting and evaluating the top U.S. athletes to compete with the rest of the world. Their tireless efforts took these coaches across the country, and repeatedly into the Great Lakes region. Given the variety of talent in our region, combined with the rest of country, the United States once again posed a large threat in almost every sport at the Olympic Games. Out of all of the athletes that traveled to London to represent our country, Michigan and northern Ohio region were lucky enough to send a select amount of their best to compete on the world stage.

The United States entered 525 competitors in the 2012 Games, the most of any other nation. The following athletes achieved their lifelong goals of qualifying for the Olympic Games, and did so through their Great Lakes backgrounds:

Archery

Jacob Wukie: Oak Harbor, Ohio

  • Results: Silver medal in Team Archery

Boxing

Claressa Shields: Flint, Michigan

  • Results: Gold medal in women’s middleweight

Canoeing

Scott Parsons: Sylvania, Ohio

  • Results: 19th after two K-1 qualifying heats, did not advance

Gymnastics

Jordyn Wieber: DeWitt, Michigan

  • Results: Gold medal in Team Gymnastics

Rowing

Tom Peszek: Farmington Hills, Michigan

  • Results: Reached finals in men’s pair, finished 8th overall

Sailing

Anna Tunnicliffe: Perrysburg, Ohio

  • Results: 8-3 in Round Robin matches, lost 3-1 in quarterfinals to Finland. 5th place overall.

Shooting

Daryl Szarenski: Saginaw, Michigan

  • Results: Placed 28th in 50-meter pistol, and 23rd in 10-meter pistol

Swimming

Michael Phelps: Baltimore, Maryland (trained in Ann Arbor, Michigan)

  • Results: 4 gold medals (4X100-meter medley, 100-meter butterfly, 200-meter IM, 4X200-meter freestyle), 2 silver (200-meter butterfly, 4X100-meter freestyle)

Allison Schmitt: Canton, Michigan

  • Results: 3 gold medals (4X100-meter medley, 4X200-meter freestyle, 200-meter freestyle), 1 silver (400-meter freestyle), 1 bronze (4X100-meter freestyle)

Peter Vanderkaay: Royal Oak, Michigan

  • Results: Bronze medal in 400-meter freestyle

Track & Field (Athletics)

Desiree Davila: Ann Arbor, Michigan

  • Results: Did not finish women’s marathon (injury)

Volleyball

Alisha Glass: Leland, Michigan

  • Results: Silver medal as an alternate

Water Polo

Betsey Armstrong: Ann Arbor, Michigan

  • Results: Gold medal as goalkeeper

Wrestling

Jake Herbert: Ann Arbor, Michigan

  • Results: Reached quarterfinals in men’s freestyle 185 lb

Congratulations to all of the athletes who represented the Great Lakes region of the United States at the Olympic Games!

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