2012 Olympiad: 5 Olympic-sized stories

great Olympic stories, London 2012 Olympics, off-the-beaten-path olympians, olympics firsts, 2012 summer OlympicsWith the opening ceremony one day away, I’m excited to see what London creates after Vancouver’s 2010 humble opening ceremony erased the memory of that 2008 Beijing thing.

I confess, I enjoy the Winter Games more than the summer, but I definitely tune in for the diving and swimming competitions, and some of the track and field events too. The Phelps/Lochte events look to be exciting, along with Usain Bolt’s attempt at making more history. Add London’s security mishaps, and those are some of the biggest stories in the Olympic universe.

But there are many athletes of the not-so-famous kind who have great stories unfolding, and have even set records in their journey to the 2012 games. These are their stories.



Nur Suryani Mohamed Taibi / Shooter / Malaysia

Her stories: She’s the first woman to represent Malaysia in Olympic shooting, and she’s eight-months pregnant.

Nur Suryani Mohamed Taibi will compete at the Royal Artillery Barracks (while eight months pregnant) in the 10-metre women’s air rifle competition.

At least three expectant mothers have competed in previous Olympics, but Nur Suryani will be the furthest along to have competed.


Don’t stop ‘til you get enough

Clara Hughes / Cyclist / Canada

Her story: Hughes is going to her fifth Olympiad and has not only switched seasons, but sports as well.

This same Clara Hughes won a bronze medal at the winter Olympics.

The Canadian cyclist turned speed skater won Olympic medals in 1996, 2002, 2006 and 2010. If Hughes medals in her fifth games, she would be one of very few to boast wins in an incredibly unique way.

Should Hughes capture medals 16 years apart (in different sports, in both winter and summer games), she will be one of the greatest Olympians ever.


No invitation needed

Maher Abu Rmeileh / Judo / Palestine

His story: Maher Abu Rmeileh is the first Palestinian athlete to qualify for the Olympics.

No special invitations and no exemptions for Abu Rmeileh.

For the first time, a Palestinian athlete has qualified for the Olympic games. Despite difficult odds, 28-year-old judoka Maher Abu Rmeileh has realized his dream. He will represent the Palestinian territory.

The other four Palestinian athletes will compete by invitation from the International Olympic Committee – extended to delegations in need of assistance.


The long and winding Rhode

Kim Rhode / Shooter / USA

Her story: Kim Rhode is attempting to be the first American to win an individual medal in five straight Olympic Games.

Not the most seductive or press-heavy events, Kim Rhode is competing in skeet and trap this year. She won a silver medal for skeet in 2008, even though her best event (double trap) was taken out.

Rhode is the girl next door who grew up to be a woman with a remarkable skill set, ready to set a record and become a legendary Olympian.


You’ve come a long way baby

Natalie Cook / Beach volleyballer / Australia

Her story: First Australian woman to compete in five consecutive summer Olympics looks to medal again.

Not only is Natalie Cook the first Australian woman to compete in five consecutive summer Olympics, she’s also the only athlete to have competed in the sport in every Games since beach volleyball was introduced at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.

Cook and  partner Kerri Pottharst won gold at the Sydney 2000 Games and in 1996, won bronze in Atlanta. The 37-year-old Cook and her 2012 partner, Tamsin Hinchley, have their eye on gold. Competition is fierce, stay tuned.


And a bonus chuckle from the too much info/too much press department:

She may be a virgin, but she’s a media whore

Lori “Lolo” Jones / Hurdler / USA

Her story: Failing to medal in 2008, the hurdler looks poised to succeed in 2012. She’s also chronicled her personal life by tweeting her, uh, status.

One of the stranger stories in the press, but apparently, 29-year-old Ms Jones is no virgin in working the media. Whether it’s true or not, the Olympic 60- and 100-meter hurdler hasn’t wasted any time in landing sponsors, and being paid very well for her pure public image.

Jones also has a great shot at getting the one that got away in 2008, when she tripped over the penultimate hurdle and finished seventh.

Who will get her share of the 150,000 Olympic condoms, if she chooses to remain as is?

2 Responses to “2012 Olympiad: 5 Olympic-sized stories”

  1. TerryTalley Says:

    Hi the curious g:

    What about Oscar Pistorius who’ll run, the first amputee track athlete to compete in any games?


  2. Janet Giampietro Says:

    Amazing as well Terry, but lots of press on him, don’t you think? I was concentrating on the stories that are equally amazing, but haven’t seen as much coverage.

    Thanks for commenting! Cheers.

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