I can’t wait to see what Venus is wearing and the other Floridians I’m watching in the Olympics

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Can I hear a “Let’s Go Ry-an!” That’s right, I think I can hear you: a faint, “Let’s go Ry-an!”

Did you see that 400 individual medley men’s race? I think Ryan (we’re on a first name basis, you know it’s a Florida thing) could have swum with the gold medal already around his neck, and still have finished first. It was supposed to be a race between two of the greatest swimmers ever, but Micheal Phelps did not show up. Ryan Lochte beat the silver medalist, who was not Michael Phelps, by three body lengths. There’s no stopping Ryan now!

This morning (Sunday July 29, 2012) Ryan qualified for the 200 meter freestyle finals that will happen tonight. Michael Phelps, qualified to swim this event in London by winning first place at the Olympic trials in Omaha, narrowly beating Ryan, but he opted out of the 200 free for the Olympic games. On twitter, Michael’s coach Bob Browman explained that the plan was for this change to allow him to focus more energy on relays for Team USA.” This makes me happy. I CAN NOT wait for Ryan to kill it, but it is hard watching a Giant fall. Maybe the rest will help Phelps gain some composure… come on Michael focus. We’re all pulling for you.

Also today Venus Williams opens the tennis singles competition playing French Open finalist Sara Errani in the first round. AND I CAN NOT WAIT TO SEE WHAT SHE IS WEARING! Did you know this will be the first time ever that players can wear color to Wimbledon, thanks to the Olympic rules? Watch out Kate, our Florida Fashionista is coming for you and I am sure we are going to get a good show! She arrived in London with patriotic braids.

So there are 26 Floridians competing in the 2012 Olympic games. I found the complete list, courtesy of the U.S. Olympic Committee Department of Communication, on the Tallahassee television channel’s website http://www.wctv.tv.com.

Chris Colwill, Diving, 3 Meter, Brandon (competed in 2008 Games)
Jared Frayer, Wrestling, Freestyle 66kg, Clearwater (first Olympic Games)
Paige Railey, Sailing, Laser Radial, Clearwater (first Olympic Games)
Zach Railey, Sailing, Finn, Clearwater (silver medalist in 2008)
Ryan Lochte, Swimming, Backstroke, Freestyle Individual Medley, Daytona Beach (competed in 2004 and 2008 games winning six medals, three gold)
Sarah Lihan, Sailing, Women’s two-person dingy, Ft. Lauderdale (first Olympic Games)
Sanya Richards-Ross, Athletics, 400m, Ft. Lauderdale (competed in 2004 and 2008 Games, won two medals at 2008 Games)
Mike Holloway, Athletics, Assistant Coach Sprints and Hurdles, Gainesville (first Olympic Games)
Hunter Kemper, Triathlon, Longwood (competed in 2000, 2004, 2008 Games)
Laura Bennett, Triathlon, North Palm Beach (an alternate on 2004 U.S. Team)
Phil Dalhausser, Volleyball – Beach, Ormond Beach (2008 gold medalist)
Jennifer Simpson, Athletics, Middle Distance (mile, steeplechase), Oviedo (first Olympic Games)
Foluke Akinradewo, Volleyball, Middle Blocker, Plantation (first Olympic Games)
Anna Tunnicliffe, Sailing, Elliott 6m, Plantation (gold medalist in 2008)
Tony McQuay, Athletics, 400m, Riviera Beach (first Olympic Games)
Brian Fatih, Sailing, Men’s Keelboat, Miami (first Olympic Games)
Sylvia Fowles, Basketball, Center, Miami (competed in 2008 Games)
Manuel Huerta, Triathlon, Miami (first Olympic Games)
LeBron James, Basketball, Forward, Miami (competed in 2004 and 2008 Games)
Danell Leyva, Gymnastics, Artistic, Miami (first Olympic Games)
Mark Mendelblatt, Sailing, Men’s Keelboat, Miami (competed in 2004 Games)
Robin Prendes, Rowing, Lightweight Men’s Four, Miami (first Olympic Games)
Trevor Moore, Sailing, 49er, Naples (first Olympic Games
Brittany Viola, Diving, 1 meter, Platform, Orlando (first Olympic Games)
Tina Konyot, Equestrian, Dressage, Palm City (first Olympic Games)
Serena Williams, Tennis, Palm Beach Gardens (competed in 2000 and 2008 Games)
Venus Williams, Tennis, Palm Beach Gardens (competed in 2000, 2004 and 2008 Games)
Justin Gatlin, Athletics, 100m, 200m, Pensacola (gold medalist in 2004 Games)
Lacy Janson, Athletics, Pole Vault, Sarasota (first Olympic Games)
Emil Milev, Shooting, Rapid Fire Pistol, Tampa (fifth Olympic Games appearance, first for U.S.)

A VERY EXCITING FLORIDIAN TO WATCH will be sprinter Justin Gatlin. The now 30-year-old won the gold medal in the 100-meter dash at the 2004 Athens Olympics, but he missed the 2008 Beijing Olympics because he was serving a four-year doping ban.

That’s why there’s plenty of buzz surrounding Gatlin this year as he returns to the Olympics and tries to steal the gold medal away from reigning Olympic champion Usain Bolt and reigning world champion Yohan Blake. (Bolt and Blake… funny).

Gatlin is coming after the champions Bolt and Blake (funny!) and they better watch out! He won the 100-meter U.S. Olympic trials final in a career-best 9.80 seconds. I am looking forward to the start of track and field on August 3rd.

There is nothing like the Olympics to bring a country together OR a little jump on the state’s band wagon to make a new Miamian feel more at home. Ryan Lochte’s performance might have even made me dislike the University of Florida a little bit less. It is true what they say you can take the girl out of Oxford (the home to Ole Miss) but you can never take Oxford out of the girl. But come on Rebel fans, don’t you agree, its Ryan Lochte. We can forgive them for that tacky blue and orange, can’t we? At least for today anyway…

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