Suburban D.C. Marylanders bring home gold medals -- Gazette.Net


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The eight Olympians with ties to Frederick, Montgomery or Prince George’s counties are bringing home two gold medal after the 2012 Summer Olympics in London closed on Sunday.

Seat Pleasant native and former Montrose Christian player Kevin Durant scored a game-high 30 points to lead Team USA to its second consecutive Olympic gold medal with a 107-100 victory against Spain in the men’s basketball championship game.

Durant established Team USA’s all-time scoring mark in a single Olympic competition with 153 points. His 30-point performance in the title game was the first in American history. Only five players have done it at any point in Olympic competition.

“We all respect each other,” Durant said of his teammates during a postgame interview with NBC sideline reporter Craig Sager. “We had one common goal … to win for our country so we put everything else aside and came out here and played as group. We got a great gold medal coming back home.”

After the game Durant sent a Twitter message to his followers: “Mission complete!! Seat Pleasant, Maryland, ya boy bringing this gold medal back!!”

Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart sophomore Katie Ledecky, the youngest member of Team USA, won the area’s first gold medal with an American record-setting performance in the women’s 800 meters in swimming.

“[Two years ago] I don't think I would have thought this was possible,” Ledecky said in sound clips provided by USA Swimming after her race. “I've just been setting short-term and long-term goals and working my butt off and getting faster progressively.”

Ledecky's gold medal-winning time of 8 minutes, 14.63 seconds broke Janet Evans' 23-year American record and was a remarkable 4.13 seconds faster than the silver medalist, Mirela Belmonte Garcia of Spain.

Ledecky remained on the world record mark for a good portion of the race but ultimately finished with the world's second-best time, still becoming the youngest athlete to ever win the women's 800-meter race.

Here’s how the area’s other Olympians fared:

Winston Churchill High School graduate David Banks missed winning his first Olympic medal by .3 seconds in the men’s eight rowing competition at Eton Dorsey in London. The American men’s eight team finished fourth with a time of 5 minutes, 51.48 seconds.

Frederick High School graduate Vikas Gowda had the best track and field performance in India’s Olympic history, finishing eighth in the discus as he tried to earn that nation’s first medal in that sport.

Earlier in the summer Gowda, who holds the Indian national record, said discus throw athletes don’t tend to peak until they’re around 30 years old. The 28-year-old’s top-10 finish in London is a stepping stone toward what could be a chance for India to earn its first track medal in 2016.

Darnestown native Caroline Queen was in 13th place after her first run in the women’s slalom in kayak, which would have advanced her to the semifinals. In her second run, she accepted 50 seconds in penalties that knocked her back to 17th. The top 15 qualified for the semifinals.

“Olympics are an experience that's different than anything else and it can be very helpful if she takes the right conclusions out of this kind of competition and makes a plan for how to go from here and not make the same mistakes and to improve,” said U.S. Olympic coach Silvan Poberaj.

Three-time Olympian Scott Parsons of Bethesda finished 16th in the men's slalom kayak competition, barely missing the semifinal cut for the second consecutive Olympics.

Parsons' 94.16-second first run was good for 13th place but he was unable to improve upon it in the second run — he received 52 seconds worth of penalties — and was passed by three paddlers.

Bethesda native Julie Zetlin finished 21st in rhythmic gymnastics. The top 10 advanced to the final round. Zetlin's appearance in London marked the first time an American rhythmic gymnast has qualified for the Olympics since 2004 and the second time since 1996.

A former Walt Whitman High School student, Zetlin has been a member of the U.S. National Rhythmic Gymnastics Team since 2003, when she was 12.

Former Eleanor Roosevelt High School sprinter Afia Charles of Glenn Dale failed to get past the first round of qualifying in the women’s 400 meter event in track.

Representing Antigua and Barbuda, for which her mother Ruperta competed in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, Charles finished fifth in the second heat of the preliminary round. The top three finishers in each of seven heats plus the next three best times qualified for the semifinals.

How Olympians fared

Here’s how the 2012 Olympians who have ties to The Gazette's coverage areas in Frederick, Montgomery and Prince George's counties did in London:

nKevin Durant, Seat Pleasant and Montrose Christian, was the leading scorer on the gold-medal-winning U.S. men’s basketball team.

nKatie Ledecky, Bethesda resident and Stone Ridge sophomore, won the gold medal in the women’s 800-meter freestyle swimming event, setting an American record and just missing the world record.

nDavid Banks, Winston Churchill graduate, was part of the U.S. men’s eight rowing team that just missed a medal, finishing fourth by .3 seconds.

nVikas Gowda, Frederick High graduate, competing for India, advanced to the final round and finished eighth of the 12 finalists in the men’s discus.

nScott Parsons, Bethesda resident, finished 16th in the men’s slalom kayak event, just missing the semifinal cut for his second consecutive Olympics.

nCaroline Queen, Darnestown resident, finished 17th in the women’s slalom kayak event. She was in 13th place after her first run, but penalty time hurt her second run.

nJulie Zetlin, Walt Whitman graduate, finished 21st in rhythmic gymnastics.

nAfia Charles, Eleanor Roosevelt graduate, competing for Antigua and Barbuda, Charles finished fifth in a preliminary heat in the women’s 400 meters in track. The top three in each of seven heats advanced.