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Olympic gymnasts face San Diego 'homecoming' Phillip Brents | Fri, Aug 10 2012 04:31 PM

How do those immortal words by the late Jim McKay go? “The thrill of victory … and the agony of defeat?”

Both ends of that catch phrase have played huge roles in the 2012 London Olympic Games, which wrap up this weekend.

Swimmer Michael Phelps has etched his name in the Olympic record book — for a couple of decades, at least. Seventeen-year-old swimmer Missy Franklin, however, stands ready to rewrite Phelps’ records before her career is over.

Gymnast Gabby Douglas, while also making history in her own right, has charmed America along with her four teammates: the Fab Five.

All are gold medal winners at these Olympic Games; all have deservedly grabbed the headlines.

The United States finished the swimming competition with 30 medals (18 gold) while adding three more in diving. Phelps leads all competitors at the London Olympics with six medals, including four golds. In his farewell Games, the charismatic 27-year-old (who seems much too young to retire) leaves the pool with a record 22 Olympic medals — 18 of them gold. 

He continues to own three world records.

If anyone is to break that hallowed mark, it might be the high-spirited Franklin, who claimed five medals — four gold — in her Olympic debut. Phelps didn’t win his first Olympic medal until he was 19. It took him four Olympic Games to accumulate his record 22.

Phelps made his Olympic debut at 15 at the 2000 Sydney Games.

If Franklin can duplicate her five medals over each of the next four Olympic Games, leaving the sport at age 33, she would surpass Phelps’ current record haul.

Phelps has already been earmarked for a television career as a color commentator. Ironically, he could be calling races in which Franklin ultimately breaks his record.

The 2016 Olympic Games are scheduled to take place in Rio de Janeiro. The 2020 Summer Games are scheduled to take place either in Tokyo, Istanbul or Madrid.

(For those keeping track, U.S. swimmers Allison Schmitt and Ryan Lochte each finished the 2012 London Games with five medals.)

The U.S. women’s gymnastics team was rated as a solid medal contender at the London Games; they remain one of America’s top achievers at the 2012 Olympics thus far after winning the gold medal in team competition ahead of Russia and Romania.

It was the first Olympic gold medal for a U.S. women’s team since 1996. The five team members quickly earned the moniker the Fab Five. Besides Douglas, the group includes Mckayla Maroney, Alexandra Raisman, Kayla Ross and Jordyn Wieber.

All are teenagers. Douglas and Maroney are both 16, Ross is 15, Wieber is 17 and Raisman, at 18, is the oldest team member.

Douglas became the first African-American female gymnast to win an all-around gold medal. She also became the first American woman to win gold in the all-around and team competition at the same Olympic Games.

Coupled with her personality, the Flying Squirrel, as Douglas is affectionately known, created an immense amount of buzz quickly through social media and became an overnight sensation.

Her brand is understandably soaring right now. According to analysts, she could be in line for some very lucrative endorsement packages once the Olympics are over.

Phelps pulls in $6 million in annual endorsements while Olympic Winter Games star Shaun White has a $7 million haul in annual endorsements to set the standard for Olympic athlete endorsements.

Millions of consumers are expected to purchase products that feature Douglas’s image, including her first major endorsement with Kellogg’s Corn Flakes.

Raisman is bidding for equal top branding honors after winning two gold medals and one bronze medal. Raisman won gold in the floor exercise and bronze in the beam finals on Tuesday to go along with her team gold.

Maroney won the silver medal in Sunday’s vault final.
There were high hopes for U.S. male gymnasts as well. However, Danell Leyva was the lone American to medal, earning a bronze in the all-around final.

Despite finishing at the top of the team qualifying round, Team USA fell flat on its face (or was it on another part of its collective anatomy?) during the medal rounds, taking a disappointing fifth place.

The combined men’s and women’s gymnastics medal count from London was six (three gold, one silver and two bronze) — second to China’s top count of eight (four gold, three silver, one bronze).

No matter, they all remain dear to our hearts and San Diegans will get a chance to cheer on many of them when the Kellogg’s Tour of Gymnastics Champions makes a Sept. 13 stop at the Valley View Casino Center (San Diego Sports Arena).

The event will serve as an appropriate platform to officially welcome home American gymnasts from the London Games.

London Games Olympians expected to compete include Douglas, Maroney, Raisman, Ross and Wieber from the U.S. women’s team and Jake Dalton, Jonathan Horton (2008 Olympic silver medalist on high bar) and John Orozco from the men’s team.

Also in the line-up for the 40-city tour are 2008 Olympic all-around champion Nastia Liukin and fellow 2008 Olympic U.S. team silver medalists Chellsie Memmel and Alicia Sacramone.

Due to athletes’ schedules and personal commitments, the cast will vary from stop to stop. Also, the cast of gymnastics champions will be joined by local gymnasts at each tour stop.

Tickets on the tour are priced from $25 to $240 but vary by market and seat location. For ticket information, visit www.KelloggsTour.com.

Feel the beat
A pair of local gymnasts representing the South Bay Family YMCA competed at the 2012 YMCA National Gymnastics Championships. The event took place June 30 to July 2 in Milwaukee, Wis.
Michelle Castillo captured second place in the Level 8 Senior all-around competition with 72.075 points, finishing first on bars (19.075) and fourth on floor exercise (18.550).

Malia Kaleiohi, a Level 8 Junior, finished 22nd in the all-around competition. Also, Stephanie Anaya (Level 8 Senior)  <!-- /* Font Definitions */ @font-face {font-family:Times; panose-1:2 0 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0; mso-font-charset:0; mso-generic-font-family:auto; mso-font-pitch:variable; mso-font-signature:3 0 0 0 1 0;} @font-face {font-family:"MS 明朝"; mso-font-charset:78; mso-generic-font-family:auto; mso-font-pitch:variable; mso-font-signature:-536870145 1791491579 18 0 131231 0;} @font-face {font-family:Verdana; panose-1:2 11 6 4 3 5 4 4 2 4; mso-font-charset:0; mso-generic-font-family:auto; mso-font-pitch:variable; mso-font-signature:3 0 0 0 1 0;} @font-face {font-family:"Cambria Math"; panose-1:2 4 5 3 5 4 6 3 2 4; mso-font-charset:0; mso-generic-font-family:auto; mso-font-pitch:variable; mso-font-signature:-536870145 1107305727 0 0 415 0;} @font-face {font-family:Cambria; panose-1:2 4 5 3 5 4 6 3 2 4; mso-font-charset:0; mso-generic-font-family:auto; mso-font-pitch:variable; mso-font-signature:-536870145 1073743103 0 0 415 0;} /* Style Definitions */ p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal {mso-style-unhide:no; mso-style-qformat:yes; mso-style-parent:""; margin:0in; margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-fareast-font-family:"MS 明朝"; mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman";} .MsoChpDefault {mso-style-type:export-only; mso-default-props:yes; font-size:10.0pt; mso-ansi-font-size:10.0pt; mso-bidi-font-size:10.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-fareast-font-family:"MS 明朝"; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria;} /* Page Definitions */ @page {mso-footnote-numbering-restart:each-section;} @page WordSection1 {size:8.5in 11.0in; margin:1.0in 1.25in 1.0in 1.25in; mso-header-margin:.5in; mso-footer-margin:.5in; mso-paper-source:0;} div.WordSection1 {page:WordSection1;} --> was second on bars in the qualifying competition.

Castillo was among seven gymnasts from the South Bay Y who placed in the top four at the 2011 nationals, finishing fourth on Level 8 bars.

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