The 2012 Olympic Games which will take place from July 27 through August 11 are quickly approaching. The full 530-member Team USA has officially been announced and there will be 19 athletes representing their home state of New Jersey.
19 athletes spanning 12 sports. When going through the list of names, it’s not hard to imagine at least a handful of these local athletes coming home from London with medals.
Christie Rampone is one of the best athletes New Jersey has ever produced. Now a captain of the women’s national soccer team, Rampone will be competing in her fourth Olympics. This Monmouth University grad who lists her hometown as Point Pleasant, NJ has never finished lower than third in a World Cup or Olympics in which she has played. Rampone will be a major factor as both player and leader as Team USA looks to defend it’s gold medal from Beijing.
Joining Rampone on the women’s soccer team will be Heather O’Reilly, Carli Lloyd, and Tobin Heath. O’Reilly, a East Brunswick native, has been a member of the national team since 2002. She is a two-time Olympic medalist. Lloyd joined the national team in 2005 and was a member of the gold medal winning ’08 team. Lloyd in fact scored the game winning goal in the 1-0 overtime match with Brazil to make Team USA Olympic Champions. Heath was a reserve mid-fielder on the ’08 team, which was her first year on the national team. She hails from Basking Ridge, NJ and is one of the most skilled players on the team.
Lloyd is a graduate of Rutgers University. Julie Culley also graduated from Rutgers in 2004. Culley is making her first Olympic appearance and will be competing in the 5000 meter competition as a member of the Track & Field team.
Rebecca Soni is a three-time Olympic medalist from Plainsboro, NJ. Soni currently holds world records in the 100 and 200-meter breaststroke. She will be competing in both events in London.
Dagmara Wozniak will be competing in her second Olympic Games in the women’s saber competition in the sport of fencing. The Avenel native was a member of the 2008 team as well.
Joining her on the fencing team in London will be Maya Lawrence. Lawrence is a Teaneck native and Princeton graduate who currently lives in France. She will enter the London Games ranked No. 2 in the USA and No. 29 in the World.
Asjha Jones, a Piscataway native, will be competing in her first Olympics. She is a member of the women’s basketball team that should be a favorite to win Gold.
The women’s field hockey team features two New Jersey athletes, Rachel Dawson and Michelle Vittese. Dawson, who has her own blog for fans to stay updated on the team, was also a member of the 2008 team that finished 7th in Beijing. Vittese will be making her first Olympic appearance. Dawson is from Berlin while Vittese is a Cherry Hill native.
Nick Delpopolo is the United States No. 1 ranked Judo athlete. Delpopolo will be competing in his first Olympics in the 73kg weight class.
Englewood Cliffs native Christina McHale will be making her first Olympic appearance as a member of the US tennis team. McHale most recently advanced to the round of 32 before falling to Angelique Kerber at Wimbledon. McHale will be competing in the singles tournament in London.
Steve Kasprzyk is in his fourth year on the men’s national rowing team. He will make his first Olympic appearance this year as a member of the men’s eight event. Kasprzyk is a Cinnaminson, NJ native.
Steven Gluckstein is making his first appearance at the Olympics. The Atlantic Highlands, NJ native will be competing in the trampoline event as part of Gymnastics.
Also making their first appearance in the Olympic Games is wrestler Jordan Burroughs. The Sicklerville native will be competing in the freestyle 74kg event.
Jeff Porter is another New Jersey athlete making their first ever Olympic Games appearance. Porter is a Franklin High School graduate. He qualified for a spot on the Track & Field squad by finishing third in the finals of the 110m hurdles. His finishing time was the fastest of his career.
Shooting team member Matt Emmons is looking to add more medals to his collection. Emmons, a Brown Mills, NJ native, won Gold at the 2004 Games in the 50m rifle prone position event. He took home Silver in the same event at the 2008 Games. This year, Emmons will be competing two events in London. He will participate in the 10m Air Rifle and 50m Rifle Three Position events.
Connor Jaeger will hit the pool in London after finishing second at the US Swim Trials. Jaeger is a Fair Haven native who will be competing in the 1,500m freestyle event. He currently holds the fifth fastest time in the world in this event this year.
While we will all watch and cheer on all of our Team USA athletes, New Jersey will have some extra pride while watching these 19 athletes representing 12 different sports. Go Team USA! For all DoubleGSports.com’s Olympic coverage, visit our Team USA page.