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Summer Olympics: Five Best Summer Olympic Athletes from Virginia

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Numerous Olympic athletes, both past and present, have ties to Virginia. Here is some information on five of the best Summer Olympians to come from the state. All of these individuals have won at least one gold medal in the Summer Games. Four of them have won multiple Olympic medals. This article also provides a list of the athletes from Virginia who are participating in the 2012 London Summer Olympic Games (and who did not make the top five).

Gabrielle (Gabby) Douglas (Two Golds)

Name: Gabrielle (Gabby) Douglas

Country: United States

Born: Dec. 31, 1995

Sport: Artistic gymnastics

Connection to Virginia: Born in Virginia Beach, Va. and lived in the state until she was 14.

Olympic Success: Gabby Douglas is part of the women's gymnastics squad, which is competing at the 2012 London Summer Games. While in London, She became the first American gymnast to win a gold medal in both the team competition (with her four teammates) and the individual all-around event. Douglas is also the first African American to win the gymnastics individual all-around event.

Jeffrey (Jeff) Rouse (Three Golds, One Silver)

Name: Jeffrey (Jeff) Rouse

Country: United States

Born: Dec. 6, 1970

Sport: Swimming

Connection to Virginia: Born in Fredericksburg, Va. and currently lives in Stafford, Va.

Olympic Success: Jeff Rouse participated in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, where he won a silver medal in the men's 100 meter backstroke and a gold medal in the men's 4X100 meter medley relay. Rouse came back four years later to win gold in both the men's 100 meter backstroke and the men's 4X100 meter medley relay.

Thomas (Tom) Dolan (Two Golds, One Silver)

Name: Thomas (Tom) Dolan

Country: United States

Born: Sept. 15, 1975

Sport: Swimming

Connection to Virginia: Born in Arlington, Va. and currently runs a swim school located in Dulles, Va.

Olympic Success: Tom Dolan competed in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, where he won a gold medal in the men's 400 meter individual medley event. Four years later, at the Sydney Games, he won a second gold in the 400 meter individual medley competition and also snagged a silver medal in the men's 200 meter individual medley race.

Frank Havens (One Gold, One Silver)

Name: Frank Havens

Country: United States

Born: Aug. 1, 1924

Sport: Canoe/Kayak

Connection to Virginia: Born in Arlington, Va.

Olympic Success: Frank Havens was a member of the U.S. canoe team that participated in the 1948 London Summer Olympics. He won a silver medal in the men's Canadian 10,000 meter singles and almost medaled in the men's Canadian 1000 meter singles event (he finished fourth). At the 1952 Helsinki Games, Havens won a gold medal in the men's Canadian 10,000 meter singles competition. He made appearances in the next two Olympics but was not able to medal. The canoe events that were Havens' specialty are no longer part of the Olympic program; however, that fact does not diminish his accomplishments.

Benita Fitzgerald Mosley (One Gold)

Name: Benita Fitzgerald Mosley

Country: United States

Born: July 6, 1961

Sport: Track and Field

Connection to Virginia: Born in Warrenton, Va.

Olympic Success: Benita Fitzgerald Mosley won the gold medal in the women's 100 meter hurdles at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games. In doing so, she became the first African American woman to ever win the event.

Here is a list of the athletes with ties to Virginia, other than Gabby Douglas, who are competing in the 2012 London Summer Olympic Games.

Equestrian

Will Coleman (U.S.)

Nina Ligon (Thailand)

Field Hockey

Claire Laubach (U.S.)

Caroline Nichols (U.S.)

Shannon Taylor (U.S.)

Rowing

Giuseppe Lanzone (U.S.)

Swimming

Matt McLean (U.S.)

Kate Ziegler (U.S.)

Taekwondo

Terrence Jennings (U.S.)

Track and Field

T'erea Brown (U.S.)

Francena McCorory (U.S.)

LaShawn Merritt (U.S.)

Kellie Wells (U.S.)

Volleyball

Reid Priddy (U.S.)

Basketball

Quanitra Hollingsworth (Turkey)

The author has been following the Summer Olympic Games since 1988. He has lived in Virginia for most of his life.

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