What do Tyson Gay, Missy Franklin, and the women's archery team have in common?
They have all made the USA Olympic Team, and they all have heartwarming stories behind their quest for gold.
1. Tyson Gay withdrew from the U.S. Track and Field Championships in June 2011. Shortly thereafter, he received an arthroscopic surgery during which his torn labral was fixed and his right hip impingement was addressed. He had to wait about five months after his surgery before he could start light jogging. His first sprints and heavy weight lifting wasn't started until March 2012. He ran a 10-second 100-m dash at the New York Diamond League Meet during his first and only official race since his surgery.
Then, on June 25, 2012 Tyson Gay qualified for the 2012 Olympics by posting a 9.86-second, second-place finish in the 100-meter race. It is awe-inspiring to imagine that Tyson went from having a painful, chronic injury, to receiving an arthroscopic surgery, to qualifying for the Olympics, all in less than a year's time.
2. The USA women's archery team had not qualified for the Olympics since 2004. They quenched that dry spell in Ogden, Utah, during the 2012 World Cup. Miranda Leek, Khatuna Lorig, and Jennifer Nichols won a gold medal during the women's recurve event. This victory secured a spot for the team during the 2012 Olympics.
During the Third Nomination Shoot held in Colorado Springs in early June, the three ladies had competed for, what was then, the one and only guaranteed spot on the women's USA Olympic archery team. Miranda Leek came out on top after that competition. Having attended that competition and seeing how poised and skilled Khatuna Lorig and Jennifer Nichols were, it was wonderful to see that all three of these ladies get to compete in London.
3. While Missy Franklin has been pegged a likely swimming superstar for quite some time, it was a delight to see this young lady qualify for, at least, two events for the 2012 Olympics. On June 28, 2012, Franklin set a U.S. record and qualified for the Olympics, when she swam the 100-meter backstroke in 58.85 seconds. The next day, she posted a second-place (and Olympic-qualifying) finish during the 200-meter freestyle event.
Not only is Missy Franklin a superstar in the water, she is a great teammate. She has turned down endorsements and prize money so that she will still qualify to compete both with her Regis Jesuit High School team and so that she can compete in college. It is a treat to see a true amateur athlete accomplish so much.
Satchel Ford has enjoyed following and writing about the paths that these athletes have taken in order to get to the 2012 Olympics. As a former college track athlete and a current member of an archery club in Golden, Colorado, she can empathize with the ups and down associated with successfully training for racing and shooting events. As a mother and as a fellow Coloradoan, Satchel takes great pride in rooting on the upstanding and talented Missy Franklin.More from this contributor: Tyson Gay Given Olympic Hope from Remarkable Steadman Clinic Surgery