Over the years at the Summer Olympics there have been several Olympians from the state of Florida making an indelible mark. Some of them are making their own history in London. Currently there are a number of athletes competing at the London Games who are from the Tampa Bay area: Chris Colwill - diving, Mark Mendelblatt - sailing, John Isner - tennis, Zach and Page Railey - sailing, Emil Milev - shooting, and Jared Frayer - wrestling. Now let's get to know these top five Summer Olympians from the "Sunshine State."
Even though he was not born and raised in Florida, Shorter attended the University of Florida's College of Law when he won the Olympic marathon. It was at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, Germany 40 years ago. Coincidentally, he was born in Munich. Frank Shorter is considered one of the pioneers of the running boom that's still going on today.
You might recognize his name as one of the swimming commentators at the London Games for the NBC television network. Gaines, a Florida native from Winter Haven, won three gold medals. They were for the 100-meter freestyle and in two relay races: the 400-meter freestyle and 400-meter medley in swimming at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. At the time he was one of the oldest swimmers ever to win gold at the ripe old age of 25.
Here's another gold medalist in swimming from the Tampa Bay area. Unlike Rowdy Gaines, Bennett was a teen sensation at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta at 16-years old. She won her first gold medal in the 800-meter freestyle. In 2000 at the Sydney Games Bennett did it again by winning the 800-meter freestyle and the 400-meter freestyle events.
He has the distinction of winning the first gold medal (400-meter individual medley) for the U.S. at the 2012 Olympics, beating swimming icon, Michael Phelps. Later on Lochte won another gold medal for a relay event. Raised in Daytona Beach, and an alum of the University of Florida (Bachelor of Sport and Recreation [BSR] '11), he still resides in Daytona.
- Sports & Recreation
- Swimming & Diving
- Rowdy Gaines
- Frank Shorter