London calling: Four Las Vegas athletes eye Olympic gold
Thu, Jul 26, 2012 (midnight)
A runner in track and field's toughest event, a BMX wonder kid, a collegiate hammer thrower who gets into her own head and a heavyweight boxer with a sweet tooth—meet the local athletes representing Las Vegas in the London 2012 Summer Olympics. And don't forget to cheer them on.
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Track & Field: 800 Meters
Training regimen: A little bit of everything—weights, core, miles, sprints, plyometrics. The 800 is the toughest event in track and field, so you have to really prepare for everything.
Diet: I just eat whatever my body wants.
Pump-up music: [It’s] a lot of motivational speeches mixed up, so you have Rocky from Rocky IV, when Rocky’s talking to his son. You have Snatch, the movie; you have Muhammad Ali, when he’s going on a rant. And it’s to music, and it’s all mixed together. Then [the guy who recorded it] has his voice going over my race plan.
Pre-competition ritual: I’ll get up in the morning and do a shakeout; so I do a little jog, some strides and drills. ... I lay around the room; I read. ... Then, a couple hours before I leave, I call my wife and talk to my wife and kids.
Your biggest competition: Your biggest competition is always yourself. [David] Rudisha’s the world record holder, so to be blunt, if he goes out there and he runs the way he’s been running all year ... not only am I not going to beat him, but nobody’s going to beat him. But we can’t predict that this guy is going to go and do that.
Feeling when you made Team USA: I had mixed emotions, because I wasn’t happy about getting second [in the trials], but I was happy about making the team.
Looking forward to: I need to just find a way to just relax and just believe in God and just believe in myself and just let it be. For me, I’d be so happy if I won a gold medal, but if I don’t get the full experience … it won’t be enough for me.
Watch him: Round 1: August 6, 2:50 a.m.
Training regimen: I train four to five days a week. Typically, three of those days are on the track, riding; the other two are strength sessions. … It takes a lot of balance and strength and quick reaction.
Diet: Nothing too crazy or strict. I just try to eat clean and be healthy as much as I can.
Pump-up music: Normally I listen to hip-hop. I like Jay-Z and Kanye West.
Pre-competition ritual: I’m pretty intense. I get crabby and grumpy, and I just kind of keep to myself on competition day. It’s an individual sport. It’s you against everybody else, so that’s pretty much my mentality.
Your biggest competition: In our sport there’s such a random “what if” factor. Anything could happen. [Maris Štrombergs] who won 2008, he’ll be hard to beat; he’s from Latvia. And the guy who won the World Championships this year from Australia, and the whole French team is really strong as well.
Feeling when you made Team USA: There was never really any doubt that I was going to make the team. My goal was never just to make the team; it was to perform well at the actual Olympics.
Looking forward to: Just the experience—the whole thing. From flying out from America wearing our Team USA shirts and people cheering us on … meeting other Olympians and watching other events and competing. The whole picture.
Watch him: Seeding run: August 8, 7:40 a.m.
Track & Field, Hammer Throw
Training regimen: Throw for about an hour, then lift right after for about an hour. Five days a week no matter rain, shine, holiday or not … we practice.
Diet: Fruits, veggies and fast food. I naturally eat on the healthier side, but if I want a Double-Double and Animal Fries from In-N-Out, I will.
Pump-up music: Pandora Jock Jams
Pre-competition ritual: Calling up my friends and talking to them while playing Bejeweled on my phone.
Your biggest competition: I think I am my biggest competitor, only because nobody can get inside my head like I can. I am such a head case when it comes to thinking about the other competitors, and I start to doubt myself.
Feeling when you made Team USA: WTF! I was in a bit of a state of shock because I knew I had it in me, but I wouldn’t have bet on it for that meet. So when I made the team I just kept asking questions: What does this mean? How did this happen? Did this really just happen?
Looking forward to: English-style fish ’n’ chips with a nice cold beer. And the experience that I will be able to take from this opportunity, so I am better prepared for my future years as an elite athlete.
Watch her: Qualification: August 8, 2 a.m.
Boxing, Heavyweight Division
Training regimen: The training is six to eight hours. It starts early in the morning, we’re doing some type of interval running or strength conditioning. Eat breakfast and recover and get ready for our next workout, which is our boxing workout. And later on, we’ll spar or do another workout.
Diet: I just try to get carbs and protein and stay away from a lot of sugar. I have a big sweet tooth.
Pump-up music: Sometimes I listen to slow music. Sometimes I’m too hyper and I need to calm down. Sometimes I need a boost.
Pre-competition ritual: I’m the type of person, I like to sit in the crowd and joke around and stuff. I always have a big smile on my face before I enter the ring. Once I enter the ring it just turns on.
Your biggest competition: My biggest competition is myself. I think if I just have fun and stay focused and don’t worry about all the pressure that’s being put on us ... The last [U.S.] heavyweight who won a gold medal was in ’88.
Feeling when you made Team USA: Oh man, I was standing on the podium because I had won the whole qualifier. I had a great feeling. I did not cry, but in the Olympics I’m probably going to cry.
Looking forward to: I think the opening ceremonies and seeing all the athletes, because everybody has their story and everybody’s come a long way and everybody’s been training for this one day.
Watch him: Round of 16: August 1, 6:30 a.m.