london-olympic-logo mug.jpg
If for some reason you have been a little out of the media loop for the past six months, let us be the first to

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PHOTOS: 2012 Olympic Athletes with Connections to Washington

london-olympic-logo mug.jpg
If for some reason you have been a little out of the media loop for the past six months, let us be the first to tell you that the 2012 Olympic Games will begin this Friday in London. Exciting, right!? And while most of the United States will be focusing on how many medals Michael Phelps can take home in his final Olympic swimming competition, or if the USA basketball team really can compare with the 1992 Dream Team, there is something for everyone at this Olympics.

To help get you in the spirit for the games, we thought we'd provide a rundown of some athletes competing in London with connections to Washington, whether born and/or living in the state, or just affiliated with a local collegiate or pro sports team (sorry WSU fans, UW athletes will be out in full force for the red white and blue this Olympics).

Nathan Adrian - Swimming

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The pride of Bremerton High School, Adrian has had previous success in Olympic competition, most notably earning a gold medal by swimming in the heats of the 4x100-meter freestyle relay in Beijing (setting up American Jason Lezak's come-from-behind performance in the final 25 meters to help Phelps clinch his second Olympic gold). On top of his Olympic gold, Adrian has won eleven other medals in international competition, and holds the American record for the 50 and 100 yard freestyle events. Look for Adrian in the 100 meter freestyle and 4x100 meter freestyle, both events he will be participating in at London.

Sue Bird - Women's Basketball

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The seven-time WNBA All-Star from the Seattle Storm, Bird has been dazzling fans at the KeyArena since she was drafted by the team first overall in the 2002 WNBA Draft. Maybe best known for her work as a point guard on the undefeated University of Connecticut Women's Basketball team in 2002, Bird has already won Olympic gold in 2004 and 2008, with aspirations of a third gold medal this year in London.

Our collection of Olympic athletes with Washington ties continues on the next page ...

Amanda Furrer - Shooting

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A 21-year-old Spokane native currently earning a degree in Finance at Ohio State University, Furrer has won several awards in Junior Olympic competition. An alternate for the 2008 Olympic squad, she earned a bronze medal at the 2011 National Championships, allowing her to qualify for this year's festivities in London.

Ariana Kukors - Swimming

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Born in Federal Way, Kukors began her career swimming for the University of Washington, but left after a year when the school got rid of its swim teams as a cost-saving measure. Since finishing her collegiate career at Auburn University in 2007, Kukors has won seven medals in major international competitions (World and Pan Pacific Championships). In London, her first Olympic Games, she will compete in the 200-meter individual medley.

Amy LePeilbet - Women's Soccer

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The Spokane native has played for several different women's club soccer teams during her career, including the Boston Breakers during the Women's Professional Soccer League's inaugural season in 2009. Currently not attached to any club team, LePeilbet has been focusing on being a defender for the U.S. women's soccer team, playing all 6 matches the team faced during the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup.

Adrienne Lyle - Equestrian

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Raised on a small cattle farm in Whidbey Island, Lyle has won a multitude of equestrian awards at national competitions. London will be her first Olympic appearance.

Our collection of Olympic athletes with Washington ties continues on the next page ...

Travis Stevens - Judo

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With ties to Bellevue and Tacoma, Stevens participated in the 2008 Games but was unsuccessful in his quest for a medal. After facing a myriad of injuries this past year including a torn hamstring, strained neck, and broken foot, the 26-year-old hopes to have success this time around in London.

Hope Solo - Women's Soccer

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A University of Washington prodigy from Richland, Solo has been a fixture of the U.S. Women's Soccer team. After joining the team in 2000, Solo made the 2004 Olympic team (which ended up winning Olympic gold with a 2-1 overtime victory in the finals against Brazil) in Athens as an alternate. Officially named Team USA's goalie in 2005, Solo led the U.S. to gold at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing and an impressive second place performance at the 2011 FIFA World Cup. It will be interesting to see how Solo is received in this Olympics, seeing as she recently received a warning from the U.S. Anti Doping Agency for a failed drug test and told ESPN the Magazine that she was drunk during an interview with the Today show in 2008 after the team won gold that year.

Brad Walker - Pole Vault

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An NCAA All-American and two-time NCAA pole vault champion at the University of Washington, the Spokane native has won several accolades in the sport. A four-time World Championships medalist, Walker won the 2006 USA Indoor men's pole vault title and set the American outdoor record in the pole vault with a clearance of 6.04/m19-9.75. With so much success, Walker is hoping to carry some of it overseas and medal in London.

Tyler Farrar - Cycling

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A Wenatchee native, who began riding at the age of 13, Farrar has won stages at several major tournaments, including the Giro d;Italia, Vuelta a España, Three Days of De Panne, and Tour de France. Garnering the yellow jersey at the 2008 Tour of California for Stage 3, Farrar wants to continue to have success in Olympic events at London.

Our collection of Olympic athletes with Washington ties continues on the next page ...

Seth Kelsey - Fencing

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Born in Brush Prairie, Kelsey has already participated in two Olympics and with several Senior World Championship Teams. In 2010, Kelsey was a member of the first U.S. Men's Epée team ever to earn a medal at a Senior World Championships, collecting silver. On top of competing in international fencing events, Kelsey is a 2nd Lieutenant in the United States Air Force.

Scott Gault - Rowing

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Having won several collegiate championships as a member of the University of Washington rowing team, Gault has continued that success at the national and international level, including finishing fifth in the quadruple sculls at the 2008 Olympic Games. After finishing third in the men's pair at the 2012 National Selection Regatta #1 to qualify for London, Gault is hoping to continue his success at this event.

Tamari Miyashiro - Volleyball

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A 2009 graduate of the University of Washington, Miyashiro has had great success since first joining the U.S. senior national team in 2010. Mainly serving as a back-up, Miyashiro saw significant time in the 2012 FIVB World Grand Prix, including helping the U.S. win its third straight title during the final match against China. After winning silver at the 2008 Olympics, the U.S. team hopes to improve this time around in London as Miyashiro makes her Olympic debut at libero.

Jennie Reed - Cycling

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Coming out of retirement in 2010 to participate in the Olympics this year, Reed has won a variety of national and international track cycling championships, dating as far back as her first national titles at the U.S. Junior Track National Championships in 1994. Having participated in the Olympics in 2004, this Kirkland native is hoping to make her comeback worth while and have success this time around in London.

Bernard Lagat

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Born in Kenya, Lagat represented his birth nation after graduating from Washington State University in 2000 with three NCAA individual championships. After becoming a naturalized U.S. citizen in 2005, Lagat began competing for the U.S. this year. His success in national and international tournaments is unprecedented, with 12 medals in World Championship and Olympic competition, including five gold. The American record holder in the 1500m, 3000m, and 5000m indoors and outdoors events, Lagat hopes to add to his international medal count in his fourth Olympic competition in London.

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