Oregon Locals at the Olympics

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By Jack Cluth with Oregon Sports News

Beaverton’s Mariel Zagunis, a 27-year-old fencer. Photo courtesy of The Oregonian

The Olympics have begun, and a number of local athletes are in London representing the US. Galen Rupp is a legitimate threat in the 10,000 meter run, an event that hasn’t seen an American on the medal stand since Billy Mills in 1964. The skinny kid from Central Catholic has grown up to be a world-class distance runner with a legitimate shot at a medal.

Ashton Eaton is the current record-holder and favorite to win the gold in the men’s decathlon. Not bad for a kid from rural eastern Oregon. He could restore the decathlon to the prominence it enjoyed when Bruce Jenner won gold in Montreal in 1976. He’s not likely to marry a Kardashian, which is a good thing…for his fiancée, UO grad and Canadian Olympian heptathlete Brianne Theisen.

The local athlete who’ll leave London with a very special memory regardless of how well she competes is Beaverton’s Mariel Zagunis, a 27-year-old fencer. Competing in her third Olympics, Zagunis was chosen by her teammates to carry the American flag during the Opening Ceremonies. If you watched her leading the US team into the stadium, you saw her wearing a smile that probably still hasn’t off.

Bend’s Chris Horner, a 40-year-old cyclist who’s competed in several editions of the Tour de France, had a rough go of it in the men’s road race. Horner endured a flat tire and went through two bikes. Despite all that, he managed to finish only 49 seconds behind gold medalist Alexander Vinokourov of Kazakhstan. Not bad for a race that stretched over 249.5 km (154.69 miles) and almost six hours. Horner helped US teammate Taylor Phinney to a fourth-place finish…and seemed to relish every minute of it. I suppose when you’re 40 and still competing with kids half your age, any day on a bike is a good one.

Former University of Portland star Megan Rapinoe scored a goal to help the US women’s soccer team defeat Colombia 3-0. The game was marred by an incident in which Colombia’s Lady Andrade sucker punched Abby Wambach. Fortunately, the victory the only revenge Wambach needed against the trash-talking Colombians. (Read full article)


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