Maryland’s Olympic Hopefuls: Phelps Who?

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Olympic hopeful (and Maryland Terp) Katie O'Donnell will go for the gold this summer in London.

With all due respect to Mr. Phelps, the dude does kind of steal the thunder from the rest of our state’s aspiring Olympians. Which is why we figured we might as well let you know about some of the other medal hopefuls our state has produced; keep an eye out for them in London this summer!

Katie O’Donnell is a field hockey champ and University of Maryland grad.  O’Donnell is no newbie to on-the-field glory — she brought home the gold in the 2011 Pan Am games, and was a near-miss for the 2008 squad. “The reason I didn’t go to the 2008 Olympics was completely on my own,” O’Donnell told NBC. “I went in and stepped on the field every day at practice, and I was really timid. I was so worried about making mistakes that I ended up making more mistakes and things went wrong for me.” Watching the televised games back in 2008 with her new Maryland teammates was a little heartbreaking for O’Donnell. But the experience convinced her to try even harder — six hour training days with the Navy Seals, for instance. “It was the best experience to be done with,” O’Donnell remembers. “[But] it’s definitely helped us get a berth in the Olympics because it was H-E-double hockey sticks, as some people would say in the hockey world. But it was really tough and getting done with it was so motivating. If you can do that, you can do anything.”

It can’t hurt that Farrah Hall was born and raised in Annapolis, aka sailboat central. Hall got a relatively late start, by Annapolis standards; she didn’t take up sailing until her early teens, because she was so busy on various swim/track/soccer/basketball/lacrosse teams. She was one of those teenagers who spent her afternoons training for triathalons. We bet no one’s surprised that she’s headed to the Olympics. At St. Mary’s College of Maryland, Hall founded a windsurfing club and started to get serious about sailing. She qualified for the Olympics with strong showings at the 2011 Skandia Sail for Gold and the 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships. Oddly enough, the U.S. sailing team has also trained with the Navy SEALs — are these Olympians gluttons for punishment or what?!

Some others to keep your eye on:

Scott Parsons of Bethesda will three-peat the games this year; he’s a strong contender in men’s kayaking.

Caroline Queen of Darnestown (and a sophomore at Davidson College) barely edged her way onto the women’s kayaking team — but it was close enough. “It’s kind of hard to believe at this point. … It’s pretty incredible,” Queen said.

Baltimore native Angel McCoughtry was the first pick in the 2009 WNBA draft, and has dominated the courts with the Atlanta Dream ever since; this will be her first Olympic Games.

This guy, I think his name is Michael something? Apparently he just set a world record?



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