2012 Olympics: A Little Then, A Little Now...

I always look forward to the arrival of the Summer Olympics - the build-up, and then the competition in athletic events I don't normally hear anything about, and some that are in the news daily. I've never gone out of the way to collect Olympic memorabilia, but picked up a few pins here or there in the past. Most notable of them would be that one commemorating Connie Carpenter's victory in the women's road race during the 1984 Los Angeles games. This year, of course, we get to watch Connie and Davis Phinney's son, Taylor (along with Chris Horner, Tyler Farrar, Tejay van Garderen, and National Champion Timothy Duggan) challenge for medals in the men's road race. 

Connie Carpenter (now Phinney) is the last, and only, American to win gold at the Olympic games. her teammate, Rebecca Twigg took silver at the same time, and is the only American to do that.

The women's road race team of Kristin Armstrong, Evelyn Stevens, Amber Neben and Shelley Olds is also strong. If Armstrong has fully recovered from her crash at the Exergy Tour, we should expect to see the women battling hard as well. 

With only two selections for the men's track squad this time around, chances for US success seem a bit shallow, and the excitement should come from racers representing other countries. The women's squad, however, composed of Sarah Hammer, Dotsie Bausch, Jennie Reed, and Lauren Tamayo will keep it interesting on the boards.

On the dirt, Georgia Gould and Lea Davison will wear the stars and stripes in women's mountain biking, while Todd Wells and Samuel Schultz will carry the hopes for men's success. I suppose Gould should have the best shot at medalling, but Wells, racing in his third Olympic games has a lot of experience behind him.

BMX will be back at the Games (it debuted in 2008). A three rider men's squad - David Herman, Connor Fields, Nic Long - and two racer women's squad composed of Arielle Martin and Alise Post can be expected to challenge for medals.

Road racing action takes place right away, opening weekend, with the men going on Saturday the 28th and the women on Sunday the 29th. Both men's and women's individual time trials take place on August 1. Track events take place between August 2 and 7. In mtb, the mens cross country race takes place on August 11, and the women go on August 12. BMX events take place between August 8 and 10. Good luck and riding to all the athletes.