The 2012 Summer Olympics begins July 25, and like billions of people worldwide, my daughter and I will be watching fan favorite sports like gymnastics, swimming and track and field. It goes without saying that there are numerous black athletes that are strongly represented in the Summer Olympics, but mostly in track & field and basketball.
That is what makes the London Olympics so amazing is the diverse representation in gymnastics, swimming and fencing. What really makes this extraordinary is that those three sports are predominantly white and has always lacked diversity. I think that what separates those sports from track and field and basketball is not so much the will but resources, time and money.
The cost to have your child participate in any of one of those three sport is a long term commitment and packs a wollop to a middle class income. In order to compete in those three sports, you need to have money for private coaches, travel expenses, uniforms and most of all the time to get your child to practices and competitions. And your life is really not your own. As Gabby Douglas’s mother said, Gabby’s schedule was our schedule.
But I think that the greater message of these athletes is the determination, focus and dedication they bring as they head to London, traits we want our children to have. I hope that my daughter and all the kids watching will be sparked to pursue their passions whether it’s sports, school or the arts.
I can’t wait to cheer everyone on Team USA because overall it’s a pretty darn strong team.
Here are six amazing Olympians who are actually predicted to medal in their respective sports.
Gabrielle (Gabby) Douglas - Gabby Douglas won the All-Around 1st Place at 2012 Olympic Trials in San Jose. Although her family resides in Virginia, she trains at Chow’s Gymnastic and Dance Institute in Des Moines, Iowa, the same training facility as Olympic Gold Medalist Shawn Johnson. Her nickname is the “flying squirrel” for obvious reasons. She and her teammates headline a United States team favored to win the gold in London at the 2012 Summer Olympics.
John Orozco – John Orozco grew up in the Bronx, the son of a retired sanitation worker and whose mom shuttled him back and forth to Chappaqua every day so he could train. You know it couldn’t have been easy growing up in the Bronx and being a gymnast but here Orozco is on the men’s gymnastic team and one of the ones to watch to medal. He is even featured in the Gym Class Heroes video, “The Fighter.”
Like John Orozco, Daryl Homer is from the Bronx. Homer is the Number 1 Male Fencer in the United States and is 12th in the world. Fencing is a sport that has been around for hundreds of year and yet this 21 year old is aiming for a gold medal at the London Olympics. In between training, he currently attends St. Johns University.
Lia Neal, a 17-year-old from Brooklyn is headed to the London Olympics. She actually qualified for the 2008 Beijing Olympics at 13 an is second African-American female swimmer to make it to the Olympics. She is a senior at the Convent of the Sacred Heart where for your information Suri Cruise has just enrolled. She will be competing in the women’s 400 freestyle relay.
Cullen Jones – The Bronx is being represented at the London Olympics. Jones is a considered one of the fastest swimmers in the world and won the Gold in the 400m relay at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. It is well known story that Jones almost drowned when he was 5 years old and took up swimming soon after. Sadly, the statistics for African Americans drownings is pretty staggering so I commend Jones’ efforts with the USA Swimming Foundation’s Make a Splash, designed to educate parents, kids and communities about the importance of learning to swim. In London, Jones will competing in the 50-meter and 100-meter races.
Anthony Ervin - Ervin is the third black member of the 2012 United States Olympic team. He will be competing in the 50 -meter freestyle event at 31 after first competing at the 2000 Olympic Games. That’s eight years during which he has been working with Imagine Swimming here in New York City. Check out this great story about Ervin, the Road Less Traveled.
Check out the NBC Olympic Schedule for your favorite sports.
Disclosure: NYC Single Mom was not compensated for this post.
Category: Single Mom Daily Life