We do love Olympic action here in Puget Sound country. Whether the Olympic Games are held in Australia, China or Athens, the Seattle-Tacoma TV market generates ratings considerably higher than the national average.
Many of us especially look forward to cheering on our South Sound athletes. Several are on the 530-member U.S. team at the London Summer Olympics, which officially gets under way with today’s opening ceremony. Athletes with local ties include:
• Nathan Adrian, 23, of Bremerton. The 6-foot-6 swimmer finished first in the 100-meter freestyle at the Olympic trials. The national champion in the 50- and 100-meter freestyle, he’ll swim the 100-meter at the Olympics and possibly anchor the 400 free and medley relays.
• Ariana Kukors, 23, a graduate of Auburn Mountainview High. The Federal Way native is the current world record-holder in the 200-meter individual medley.
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• Adrienne Martelli, 24, of University Place. The Curtis High School graduate will represent USA Rowing in the women’s quad sculls event. She’s one of six University of Washington alumni rowing for the U.S.; four more are on the Canadian team.
• Travis Stevens, 26. The Tacoma native and graduate of Auburn Riverside High School is a favorite to medal in judo. He got his start in the sport at age 7 with lessons at the old South Tacoma Boys & Girls Club. He finished ninth at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing and has won 20 medals in international competition.
• Courtney Thompson, 27, a graduate of Kentlake High School. The volleyball player was a two-time News Tribune All-Area player of the year in 2001-02.
• Queen Underwood, 28. The two-time lightweight national champion is from Seattle, but she trains with the Tacoma Boxing Club. That’s local enough for us.
Also, good luck to South Sound athletes competing for other nations: Capital High School graduate Brodie Buckland, rowing for Australia, and Tacoma native Kim Butler, a Bellarmine Prep grad on Great Britain’s basketball team.
Whether these athletes win a medal or come home only with great memories, they’ll always be able to say that they were Olympians. That alone is an incredible achievement, one that the rest of us can only fantasize about as we watch them compete halfway around the world.