The gold medal won by swimmer Ryan Lochte in the 400 meter individual medley during the first full day of competition on Saturday, July 28, got the London Olympics off to a great start for athletes from the state of Florida. Though the Daytona Beach native is the first to take the podium as the winner of a medal, Lochte is only one of many competitors from the Sunshine State who will strive for glory in the next 2 weeks. Here is a look at another 10 diverse Floridians participating in the Olympic Games.
Chris Colwill (Brandon): A member of the USA Diving's National Team since 2002, Colwill also competed at the Beijing games in 2008. He returns to the summer games in the men's 3m springboard event in hopes of achieving the dream of an Olympic gold medal. The 27 year-old was born and raised outside of Tampa, but currently resides in Athens, Georgia, where he trains with the Georgia Dive Club.
Phil Dahausser (Ormond Beach): Ladies enjoy watching this men's beach volleyball player, who was originally born in Switzerland. The 32 year-old went to high school in Daytona Beach and attended the University of Central Florida. The 6'9" athlete came to his sport late, but won gold at the 2008 games after teaming with veteran Todd Rogers.
Jeff Demps (Winter Garden): A late addition to Team USA'a track team for the men's 4x400 meter relay because of a broken foot by Mike Rodgers, Demps was a football star at the University of Florida. Rushing for over 2,000 yards and 23 touchdowns in 4 years, he helped the Gators capture the 2008 National Championship. The 22 year-old also excelled at track, capturing many personal honors and assisting the Gators in triumph of the 2012 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field National Championship.
Manuel Huerta (Miami): A native of Cuba, this South Florida resident will be competing in his first Olympics as a member of Team USA for the men's triathlon event. The 28 year-old formerly ran cross country for Florida Atlantic University. Huerta maintains his own blog and has racked up an array of accomplishments in the past 5 years, including a silver medal at the 2011 PanAmerican Games.
John Isner (Tampa): Though born in North Carolina and a graduate of the University of Georgia, this pro tennis player makes his home in Tampa to train at the Saddlebrook Tennis Academy in Wesley Chapel. The 27 year-old Isner is the highest ranking American on the ATP Tour and cracked the top 10 earlier this year. He played in the longest Grand Slam match in history during Wimbledon in 2010. The 6'9" Isner is competing in singles and doubles of men's tennis.
LeBron James (Miami): A key part of the United States' men's basketball team for the 3rd consecutive Olympics, the 28 year-old led the Miami Heat to capture the NBA title barely a month ago. James notoriously departed his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers in 2010 and took his talents to a $9 million waterfront mansion in Coconut Grove. Winners of the gold medal in 2008, the "Dream Team" is expected to easily repeat at champions.
Danell Leyva (Homestead): One of 5 members of Team USA's men's gymnastics squad, this is the 20 year-old's first Olympic games. Leyva was born in Cuba, where his mother and father were members of Cuba's gymnastics team until they defected to the United States. Leyva has been lauded for his ability on both the parallel bars and the horizontal bar. He will compete in London in both individual and team events.
Emil Milev (Tampa): One of the more unique stories among the American contingent, London will be the 5th Olympics for Milev, who competed in 4 prior games for his native Romania. Yet, the 44 year-old is now an elementary school teacher in Tampa and became a United States citizen in 2009. He previously took a silver medal in 1996 at Atlanta. Milev is proudly entered in the men's 25m rapid fire pistol event as an American.
Karen O'Conner (Ocala): Living in the heart of Florida's horse country, the London games are O'Conner's 5th trip to the Olympics for equestrian, where she will ride the horse 'Mr Medicott' in individual and team eventing. Team USA's oldest member has previously captured a silver and bronze medal, but the 54 year-old returns in search of her first gold. In 1996, O'Conner and her husband David became just the 2nd set of married Olympians to share a medal, when they won silver in Atlanta in the team 3 day event.
Venus Williams (Palm Beach Gardens): An impressive 27 Olympians share the last name Williams, including her sister and doubles partner Serena. But as a 9 time Grand Slam winner in singles competition, Venus Williams is best known for her 5 Wimbledon championships. These are the 4th summer games for the 32 year-old, who has already captured a gold medal in singles and 2 golds in doubles. The Palm Beach County resident is again striving for glory in both events.
Yahoo! Sports, TeamUSA.org, NbcOlympics.com, UsaDiving.org, SportsIllustrated.cnn.com, TampaBay.com, GatorZone.com.
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Jeff Briscoe is a regular contributor to the Yahoo! Contributor Network. He has already started talking Olympics 2012 on The Sports Train radio show in Southwest Florida.