High-SchoolGirl: Gabby Douglas

Teens bring medal haul back from London

August, 13, 2012
The podium was a popular place to be for the high school-aged Olympians in London.

Nine different girls earned at least one medal at the London Games, which came to an end with the closing ceremonies on Sunday.

Team USA won a total of 104 medals in London (58 were won by women), and high school-aged girls contributed 12 of them.

Here is the breakdown:

Missy Franklin, swimmer: The 17-year-old senior-to-be at Regis Jesuit (Aurora, Colo.) had to cram the most medals into her bag of any of the teens, taking four golds and a bronze. Franklin took the top prize in the 100-meter backstroke, the 200-meter backstroke (in world-record time), the 4x100 medley relay and the 4x200 freestyle relay. She earned bronze in the 4x100 freestyle relay.

Aly Raisman, gymnast: The 18-year-old from Needham, Mass., struck gold in the team competition and in the floor exercise and added bronze in the balance beam.

Gabby Douglas, gymnast: The home-schooled 16-year-old won gold in gymnastics' most prestigious event, the all-around competition, and also won gold in the team competition.

McKayla Maroney, gymnast: The home-schooled 16-year-old from Laguna Niguel, Calif., won gold in the team competition and silver in the vault.

Jordyn Wieber, gymnast: Although Wieber missed out on qualifying for the all-around competition, the 17-year-old senior-to-be at Dewitt (Mich.) struck gold in the team competition.

Kyla Ross, gymnast:The 15-year-old sophomore-to-be at Aliso Niguel (Aliso Viejo, Calif.) won gold in the team competition.

Katie Ledecky, swimmer:At 15, Ledecky was the youngest member of the U.S. Olympic team. Ledecky, who will be a sophomore at School of the Sacred Heart (Bethesda, Md.), leaves London with a gold medal in the 800-meter freestyle.

Lia Neal, swimmer: The 17-year-old a senior-to be at the Convent of the Sacred Heart (New York) won bronze in the 4x100 freestyle along with Franklin.

Claressa Shields, boxer: The 17-year-old senior-to-be at Northwestern (Flint, Mich.) won gold in women's boxing in the middleweight division.

Gabby Douglas wins all-around gold

August, 2, 2012
Gabby Douglas won the women's all-around title Thursday at the London Olympics.

The 16-year-old became the third straight American to win the all-around gold, following Nastia Liukin in 2008 and Carly Patterson in 2004.

Douglas, who also won gold with the United States in the team competition, clinched the title on the floor exercise and finished with a score of 62.232.

Russia's Viktoria Komova took silver and Aliya Mustafina, also of Russia, took bronze.

Mustafina and American Aly Raisman finished tied for third with identical scores of 59.566, but the Russian got the bronze on a tiebreak. The lowest scores for both gymnasts were dropped, and the remaining three were totaled. That gave Mustafina a total of 45.933 and Raisman 45.366.

Read the full story here.

Teens lead U.S. to gymnastics gold

July, 31, 2012
A group of teenagers gave the United States its first Olympic title in women's gymnastics since 1996.

High school-aged stars Gabby Douglas, 16, Jordyn Wieber, 17, McKayla Maroney, 16, Aly Raisman, 18, and Kyla Ross, 15, lived up to the hype and captured the team gold medal at the London Olympics on Tuesday. Their score of 183.596 was a comfortable five points better than silver medalist Russia. Romania won the bronze.

Wieber, the reigning world champion who failed to qualify for the all-around competition, led off for the Americans on vault. She pulled off one of the best Amanars of her life, and the United States never looked back.

Read the full story here.

Gabby Douglas: Jordyn Wieber will be OK

July, 30, 2012
U.S. gymnast Gabby Douglas is a bit torn.

The 16-year-old is happy for Aly Raisman, 18, who will represent the United States with Douglas in the all-around gymnastics finals at the London Olympics. But she's sad for Jordyn Wieber, 17, the reigning world champion who failed to qualify for the finals.

"I know she will be able to get past this disappointment and help lead us in the team final," Douglas says.

The women's team final, in which the United States is the favorite, is scheduled for Tuesday.

Read Douglas' full blog on espnW here.
Lee KieferGerardo Zavala/LatinContent/Getty Images, Courtesy of Teresa KieferLee Kiefer's quest for an Olympic medal begins on Saturday with the women's individual foil.

There will be no easing into the Games for Lee Kiefer. Ditto for her fellow high school-aged Olympians Missy Franklin and Lia Neal.

Kiefer, a recent graduate of Dunbar (Lexington, Ky.), will be going for a medal in individual foil on Saturday, the first full day of the 2012 London Olympics. The fencing competition begins at 6 a.m. (ET), and the gold-medal match is scheduled for 2:40 p.m. Kiefer also will compete in the team event on Aug. 2.

"Of course I want to get a medal this year, and I know I can put up a fight," said Kiefer, who will attend Notre Dame in the fall. "But I don't want to set myself up to be disappointed. [By 2016], I hope to be at my best. I know I haven't reached that point yet."

The hopes are much higher for Franklin, a senior-to-be at Regis Jesuit (Aurora, Colo.). She swims in the first of her scheduled seven events on Saturday, the 4x100 freestyle relay. Neal, a senior-to be at the Convent of the Sacred Heart (New York), is also part of that relay team after finishing fourth in the 100-meter freestyle at the Olympic trials. While Franklin has a jam-packed schedule in London, Saturday will be Neal's lone opportunity to capture gold.

Franklin, obviously, won't get much time to rest. She also is expected to compete in the 100-meter backstroke finals on Monday, the 200 freestyle on Tuesday, the 4x200 freestyle relay on Wednesday, the 100 freestyle next Thursday, the 200 backstroke on Aug. 3 and the 4x100 medley relay on Aug. 4.

The youngest member of the United States' Olympic team, Katie Ledecky, who will be a sophomore at School of the Sacred Heart (Bethesda, Md.), is scheduled to swim in the 800 freestyle on Aug. 3.

Lily Zhang, Erica Wu and Ariel Hsing
Scott Heavey/Getty ImagesClose friends Lily Zhang, Erica Wu and Ariel Hsing will represent the U.S. in the three-player Olympic team table tennis competition.
Teens are hoping to make an Olympic splash in table tennis, too.

Ariel Hsing, who will be a senior at Valley Christian (San Jose, Calif.), Lily Zhang, a junior-to-be at Palo Alto (Calif.), and Erica Wu, a junior-to be at the Westridge School (Pasadena, Calif.) will try to win the United States' first ever medal in table tennis. The women's preliminary singles rounds begin on Sunday, and the finals will be held Aug. 1. The women's team competition begins Aug. 3 and concludes on Aug. 7.

"It feels like I've been waiting for this opportunity for so long, it's been my dream ever since I was a little kid," Zhang said. "Now that it's finally here, it feels like it's still a dream. It just feels amazing."

The women's gymnastics team, which consists of high school-aged stars Gabby Douglas, Jordyn Wieber, McKayla Maroney, Aly Raisman and Kyla Ross, gets going on Sunday with the qualification rounds. The United States is the heavy favorite to win gold in the team competition on Tuesday. Douglas and Wieber, who finished 1-2 at the U.S. trials, are also favorites in the all-around competition on Aug. 2. Championships on the individual events will be held Aug. 5-7.

Reed Kessler, an 18-year-old 2012 graduate from the Professional Children's School (New York), is set to make history on Aug. 4. Although records are incomplete, she is believed to be the youngest show jumper in Olympic history. Aboard her horse Cylana, Kessler will compete in both the team event and the individual event. The team champion will be crowned Aug. 6 and the individual champion will be decided Aug. 8.

Claressa Shields, who will be a senior at Northwestern (Flint, Mich.) in the fall, is the last American high school competitor with a chance to medal in London. The middleweight will begin her quest for gold on Aug. 5. The finals are set for Aug. 9. It is the first time women's boxing will be a medal sport at the Olympics.

Click here for a complete schedule of the London Olympics.
It's a record-setting roster for American women at the London Olympics, and 14 high school girls are featured on it.

For the first time, women outnumber men on the U.S. Olympic team, 269-261

Among the 269 women are 14 high school stars: boxer Claressa Shields; equestrian show-jumper Reed Kessler; fencer Lee Kiefer; gymnasts Gabby Douglas, McKayla Maroney, Aly Raisman, Kyla Ross and Jordyn Wieber; swimmers Missy Franklin, Katie Ledecky and Lia Neal; and table tennis players Ariel Hsing, Erica Wu and Lily Zhang.

Of the 530 athletes on the U.S. team, Ledecky, 15, is the youngest. At 4-foot-11, Douglas ties diver Katie Bell and wrestler Clarissa Chun for the shortest.

Read the full story here.

Gabby Douglas, Jordyn Wieber finish 1-2

July, 2, 2012
The United States will be in good teenage hands at the London Olympics.

Gabby Douglas, 16, beat world champion Jordyn Wieber, also 16, for the first time Sunday night at the Olympic trials in San Jose, Calif. Wieber had been the favorite to win the all-around title in London.

Led by the 1-2 punch of Douglas and Wieber, the team, which also includes 16-year-old McKayla Maroney, 18-year-old Aly Raisman and 15-year-old Kyla Ross, is expected to strike gold in the team competition later this month in London.

Nastia Liukin, the reigning Olympic all-around champion, did not make the team.

Read the full story here.
Jordyn WieberDilip Vishwanat/Getty ImagesReigning world champion Jordyn Wieber won her second straight U.S. title on Sunday in St. Louis.

Two 16-year-old Americans are poised to take their budding gymnastics rivalry to London and give the United States a solid 1-2 punch at the 2012 Olympic Games.

Jordyn Wieber, the reigning world champion, won her second straight U.S. title on Sunday, beating Gabby Douglas by 0.2.

"I usually thrive off the pressure, and it's so fun to have someone else so close," Wieber told The Associated Press. "It's more exciting."

The Olympic trials will be held June 28 through July 1 in San Jose, Calif., and the Olympic team will be announced July 1. The trials champion is guaranteed a spot on the five-person London squad. Aly Raisman, who finished third at the U.S. championships, reigning Olympic champion Nastia Liukin and fellow Beijing star Alicia Sacramone were among the gymnasts who made the cut for the trials competition.

At the 2008 Games in Beijing, it was the duo of Liukin and Shawn Johnson who won gold and silver for the United States.

"I like to have this close competition between the front-runners," national team coordinator Martha Karolyi told The Associated Press.

Read the full story here.