50 Athletes to Watch Top 10 Summer Olympics Films
The 2012 Summer Olympics are under way in London. To help you find folks to root for, here’s a look at some NCAA student-athletes going for the gold.
Elizabeth Beisel, Florida, Swimming
Beisel, who just missed medaling in two events at the 2008 Olympics in Bejing, qualified for the U.S. Olympic Team in both the 400m IM and the 200m backstroke. She captured gold in the 400m IM at the 2011 FINA World Championships for her first world title. Beisel is also the reigning NCAA national champion in the 200m backstroke. She has the unusual nickname of “Bekel.” She told USASwimming.org, ”At one meet, I was somehow entered as Bekel, so people started to call me that.”
Brigetta Barrett, Arizona, High Jump
Barrett grew up in New York, where she first started high jumping her freshman year of high school. For her junior year, Barrett packed her bags and moved to Texas to live with family members and give herself the best possible environment for success. It worked, as Barrett is the defending NCAA indoor high jump champion. Barrett is majoring in theatre arts with a minor in creative writing. She wrote and produced the first ever black history month play on the campus of Arizona.
Jake Dalton, Oklahoma, Gymnastics
Jake Dalton, the 2012 U.S. floor & vault champion, won two NCAA titles for Oklahoma in 2011 on floor and vault. His first defining moment came at an early age when Dalton had to choose between playing baseball and competing in gymnastics. At the time, he was trying to do both, but the back-and-forth began wearing on his parents, and they asked him to choose. Maybe it was intuition, maybe luck, but the nine-year-old Dalton picked gymnastics, setting him on a path to become one of the top men’s gymnasts in the nation. “From that point on, everything got much more intense,” Dalton said. “Gymnastics took over my life after that. That was big turning point in my life.”.
Tia Brooks, Oklahoma, Shot Put
Tia Brooks had an incident during a weightlifting session where she suddenly lost feeling in her legs and had to be carried out of the weight room on a spine-board. After medical evaluation, it was determined that Brooks had two bulging discs, degenerative disc disorder and a narrowing of her spine. While a doctor suggested that Brooks choose a different sport, she was not deterred. She is the defending NCAA indoor and outdoor shot put champion. MORE: Brooks defies doctors to return
Maggie Steffens, Stanford, Water Polo
Aside from being the youngest member of the team, Maggie Steffens (left) holds the rare distinction of being one half of the lone pair of siblings to ever be teammates on the Women’s National Team. Maggie’s older sister Jessica, 25, graduated from Stanford in 2009 and will be playing in her second Olympic Games. “It is fun to be the youngest on the team,” Steffens said. “I have learned so much from my teammates — about water polo, life, boys — everything a 19-year-old needs to know. I feel like I have really grown as a person and as a player.”
Sarah Scherer, TCU, Rifle
Sarah Scherer’s brother, Stephen, was a 2008 rifle Olympian. Two years later, Stephen took his own life. Just weeks after the tragedy, Sarah was back competing. This year, Sarah helped TCU capture the NCAA Rifle championship for the second time in three years.