Philadelphia and PA athletes aren’t racking in as many medals as their New York counterparts so far but with training grounds like the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art in our backyard, we fully expect more medals before the games are over.
As of Monday morning, the hometown medal count stood at one bronze medal, lots of promise, one fire-facing equestrian.
Brendan Hansen is PA’s only medal placer so far and definitely our comeback kid. After nearly a decade of being the top U.S. breaststroke swimmer and scoring a silver and bronze medal in 2004, Hansen was crushed to clock in at fourth in the Beijing Olympics’ 100-meter breaststroke in 2008. He retired from competitive swimming shortly after. Last year, however, the Havertown, PA native decided to take one more shot at the gold. His hard work paid off: He snagged a bronze medal yesterday.
Other local athletes could be on the way to the medal platform.
Glenn Ochal started rowing at Philly’s Roman Catholic High School and helped his men’s four win their first heat early this morning.
Abington-native and Penn State graduate Susan Francia won the gold rowing in Beijing four years ago. Qualifying for the London games was no walk in the park thought, Francia suffered a herniated disk and fractured rib that kept her off the water for two months, but after rigorous training on a stationary bike, Francia qualified. She and the rest of her team won their heat and scored the second overall fastest time on Sunday.
Allentown tennis-champ Varvara Lepchenko beat Paraguay’s Veronica Cepede Royg in the first-round games. She won all three sets — two last night and one this morning after darkness forced an overnight delay.
Don’t forget to watch out for these Pennsylvanians in the coming competitions:
Chesire-county resident and Olympic Equestrian rider Boyd Martin wins the unofficial Metro award for Most Harrowing Journey To the Olympics. A barn fire last Memorial day killed six of his horses and nearly the rider himself after Martin overpowered a fire marshal, entered the burning barn, and rescued Neville, a 12 year old gelding, with the help of U.S. teammate Phillip Dutton, who owned the barn. This wasn’t the first time Martin saved Neville from certain death. A decade ago, Martin bought the horse for a mere $900, saving him from the slaughterhouse. (Neville made the journey to London, but didn’t qualify for the Olympics this year, so Martin is riding on another horse saved from the flames by firefighters, Otis.) Martin was ranked 13th going into the games, but can we just give him the gold already?
Olympian and soldier, Hillsgrove’s Joshua Richmond was firing guns by age 5 and shooting competitively by 11. In high school, the Army Markmanship Unit recruited the young sharpshooter for a specialized unit. A decade later, he’s currently a member of the unit, stationed in Ft. Benning, Georgia. While deployed in Afghanistan last fall, he taught Afghan soldiers how to shoot.
Fencer Miles Chamley-Watson may have been born in Great Britain., but with Philadelphia listed as his official hometown, he’ll be representing the U.S. in London this summer. We’re also fans of his killer shoe collection.
The women’s soccer team is already breaking records in the games and making headlines, something backup goalie Nicole Barnhart is no stranger to. In the late ’90s, Barnhart got her start as the only girl on the Boyertown High School boy’s soccer team.
And for your best shot at seeing a bunch of victorious Pennsylvanians, check out the Women’s Field Hockey team when they take on Argentina at 2 p.m. today (broadcast on MSNBC). The full squad contains nine Pennsylvanians, including Perkasie-native sisters Julia and Katie Reinprecht.