Fri, Jul 27 2012 03:12 PM Posted By: Phillip Brents
It might not be too far off the mark to suggest that athletes from the Chula Vista Olympic Training Center may collect as many medals over the next two weeks at the London Olympic Games as athletes from the sprawling complex overlooking the Lower Otay Reservoir had collected in the past four Olympiads.
That might be an overstatement but it speaks highly of the potential that this group of Olympians possesses, version 2012.
The men’s archery team enters the London Games ranked No. 1 in the world and is led by the world’s top-ranked men’s archer, Arizonan Brady Ellison.
The five BMX athletes are all medal contenders and the U.S. women’s field hockey team qualified for the 2012 Olympic Games by defeating then top-ranked Argentina at the 2011 Pan American Games in Mexico.
The U.S. women’s soccer team, which continues to maintain albeit tenuous ties to the Chula Vista facility, is looking to avenge its loss to Japan at last year’s Women’s World Cup. The U.S. women have set the Olympic standard with gold medals in 1996, 2004 and 2008.
Track and field athletes are also ready to make their mark. The CV-OTC roll call includes two-time Olympians Jamie Nieto (men’s high jump), Kara Patterson (women’s javelin throw), Jarred Rome (men’s discus throw), Alice Schmidt (women’s 800-meter run) and Brad Walker (men’s pole vault).
Up-and-comer Will Claye will compete in two events: the men’s long jump and triple jump.
Chula Vistans will surely feel a warm spot in their hearts when hometown favorite Desiree Davila, a graduate of Hilltop High School, toes the starting line in the women’s marathon.
Kayaker Carrie Johnson, a graduate of La Jolla High School and a long-time OTC resident-athlete, will be competing in her third Olympics.
Chula Vista OTC resident-athletes expect to make even more of an impact in the upcoming Paralympic Games, which will take place in the same Olympic venues Aug. 29 to Sept. 9.
The U.S. Olympic archery team enjoyed a great send-off to London by competing in the Ogden World Cup June 18-24 in Utah. Ellison, along with teammates Jake Kaminski and Jacob Wukie, won the team gold medal in men’s recurve while Miranda Leek, Khatuna Lorig and Jennifer Nichols won the bronze medal in women’s recurve team.
Ellison and Nichols also took home the gold medal in mixed recurve team.
Ellison feels certain the Americans will come back from London highly decorated, though wresting the gold medal away from the strong grip of the reigning Olympic champion South Koreans will be a challenge.
But challenges can be exciting.
“We have a strong team this year and I think we will win a medal,” Ellison said.
On an individual basis, he feels empowered from a higher source. “(Personally) I want to win the gold medal,” he said. “If God wills it, I will win it.”
Patterson will be out to better her disappointing showing at the 2008 Beijing Games where she failed to advance beyond the qualifying round.
Optimism appears to be the operative word in 2012.
“I think I’m in a better position than last time,” she said. “I’ve been in a lot of international competitions recently and I’ve had a lot of success in them, and I think having success will create even more success.”
Chula Vista Olympic Training Center qualified athletes for the 2012 London Olympic/Paralympic Games
Kayla Bashore Smedley
Keli Smith Puzo
Men’s quadruple sculls
Men’s fours lightweight
Women’s single sculls
Women’s double sculls
Women’s quadruple sculls
Track & Field
Jessica Cosby (hammer throw)
Becky Holliday (pole vault)
Will Claye (long jump, triple jump)
Jamie Nieto (high jump)
Brad Walker (pole vault)
Alice Schmidt (800-meter run)
Sean Furey (javelin)
Jarred Rome (discus)
Kara Patterson (javelin)
Morgan Uceny (1,500-meter run)*
Amy Hastings (10,000-meter run)*
Paralympic Track & Field
Jeremy Campbell (discus)
Chris Clemens (long jump, sprints)
Lex Gillette (long jump, sprints)
Wes Williams (guide runner)
Blake Leeper (sprints)
Josiah Jamison (sprints)
Jerome Avery (guide runner)
Jeff Skiba (high jump, javelin)
Paralympic Wheelchair Tennis
*-denotes part-time resident-athlete
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