If U.S. Women's Gymnastics story montages and a pool-soaked Ryan Lochte weren’t reasons enough to watch the Olympics, there are also a handful of Chi-Town born, city raised athletes. Meet the Olympians who represent the U.S., but call Chicago home.
Anthony Davis, BasketballChicago native Anthony Davis went from a six-foot-three, marginal college prospect, to the No. 1 pick in the 2012 NBA Draft. Tonight, he’ll ball as an Olympian and the youngest member of United States National Team. His unbelievable transformation is inspiring. The fact that it took less than three years is a miracle.
Thanks to a seven inch growth spurt when he was a junior at Perspectives Charter School, Davis became one of Illinois’ most imposing and sought after talents, committing to the powerhouse University of Kentucky basketball program in 2010. Last month, he was selected first overall by the New Orleans Hornets in the NBA Draft. For those of you keeping track, that’s driver’s license to millionaire in less than three years. And now *fingers crossed* a gold medal.
Wallace Spearmon Jr., Track and FieldThe Chicago-born speed merchant races Wednesday night in the 200 meter dash semifinal. Spearmon Jr. is hoping to amend a disappointing race from the ’08 Olympics, in which he finished third but was later disqualified for stepping out of his lane. Stay in your lane, Wallace.
Bob Willis, WindsurfingWillis began sailing at the Columbian Yacht Club when he was eight-years-old. When I was eight, my idea of "sailing" was running through a sprinkler in a pair of dolphin shorts. Anyway, as an accomplished sailor, Willis shifted his focus to windsurfing while attending Connecticut College. The 25-year-old Willis was the only member of the United States Sailing team not from Florida or California and finished 22nd overall.
Ellis Coleman, WrestlingThe 20-year-old Oak Park native is the youngest member of the U.S. Wrestling team and a pretty eccentric person, at least according to his River Forest High School wrestling coach Mike Powell. Powell said of Coleman, "I’ve never met a person - and I know Olympians - with a higher pain threshold in my life. He’s just tough, on another level. Those type of guys usually become presidents or run prisons from the inside.’’
Perhaps it was his inexperience and extreme personality that led him to attempt a "flying squirrel" move in his Olympic debut. Unfortunately for Coleman, his Bulgarian opponent must have a YouTube account and studied the wrestlers trademark take-down. Coleman was defeated in his opening round match.