Sunday, July 22, 2012

Teaser- Here Come the Olympics

The 2012 London Olympics get underway with the opening ceremonies on Friday. Those of us in the United States will once again be relying on the voice of Bob Costas, the NBC sports announcer who broke through as a baseball announcer, to help guide up through an event with 10,500 athletes from 204 countries.

Jordyn Wieber, 17, (pictured above) will likely be one of the American athletes which Costas and company will focus on the most as she is the 2011 all-around champion in women's gymnastics.. Since Mary Lou Retton, 44, gave a break-through performance at the 1984 Olympics, the sport has been among the most popular ones for tv spectators in this country on a continuous basis.

Guor Marial, 28, an Iowa State alum who is a marathon runner, will be one of the very few athletes not representing one of the 204 countries at the summer games as his country South Sudan which broke away from Sudan is not yet recognized in the international sports community. Similary, Marial has not lived in the United States long enough to qualify for citizenship. So, he will be walking in the opening ceremonies under the Olympic flag.

For those of us of Turkish heritage, there is also excitement because for the first time since 1960 Turkey will have teams competing in The Olympics. There are actually two teams from Turkey that will be at the games in both women's basketball and women's volleyball.

Nevriye Yilmaz, 32, the first Turkish woman to play in the WNBA, with her last stint being with the San Antonio Silver Stars in 2004, is one of the most-recognized members of the squad. Yilmaz was actually born in Bulgaria, but her family of Turkish ethnicity emigrated to Turkey when she was nine.

Amazingly enough, one of Yilmaz's teammates for Team Turkey is an African-American basketball player Quanita Hollingsworth, 23, a Virginia Commonwealth Univeristy alum who now plays for the New York Liberty. She obtained Turkish citizenship to play for Turkey's national team.

Hollingsworth said she will have mixed emotions when Turkey plays the United States in group play; the two countries also face each other in women's volleyball (see earlier entries about Turkey and the Olympics..

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