What does it take to be an Olympian? These tough competitors have the right combination of spirit and skill to make Americans proud, win or lose. Meet four U.S. athletes ready to take on the world.
JIMMY PEDRO remembers the first time he came in second in a judo match. "I remember lying on the mat until my father picked me up," he says. Pedro was 11 and had won every junior title since he was 6. Today Pedro, 29, is the world champ in the 73-kilogram (161-pound) category. He is the U.S.'s best chance for gold in a sport in which an American has never won the top prize. Go for it, Jimmy!
ANTHONY ERVIN, 19, made a big splash on his way to the Games this year. In a college meet, he set the world record in the 50-meter freestyle. At the Olympic swim trials, Anthony clocked the third-fastest time ever in that event. He is the first swimmer of black heritage to win a spot on the Olympic swim team.
ELISE RAY, 18, is in the Olympics for the first time, but she's no stranger to competition. "I'm excited for Sydney," says Ray, the 2000 U.S. gymnastics national champion. With this kind of talent, Ray will be flying high above the competition--literally. Her signature move on the uneven bars involves two full twists in the air. Now she's someone to look up to!
MARLA RUNYAN, 31, didn't always have her sights set on the Olympics. Especially not at age 9, when she began losing her vision. But in July, the runner finished third in the 1,500-meter race at the U.S. trials and is now the first legally blind athlete on any U.S. Olympic team! (She can see, but not well enough to recognize faces or drive at home in Oregon.) Her new vision: "to place in the top eight."
"Team U.S.A. Here are a few of the more than 800 athletes chosen to represent our country:." Time for Kids 15 Sept. 2000: 8. InfoTrac Pop Culture eCollection. Web. 8 Nov. 2009.
Gale Document Number:A66565665
United States Judo Association - USJA
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