US Olympic Women's Track & Field Team 2012: Updated News, Roster and Analysis
The list of U.S. female track and field legends runs deep, and it figures to run even deeper after the 2012 London Olympics.
Names like Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Wilma Rudolph, Wyomia Tyus and Florence Griffith-Joyner will make way for a new wave of stars, all forged by the same Olympic fire that turned each into a sporting hero.
Before this new crop of stars leaps into the history books, meet them in the slides ahead.
100 Meters: Carmelita Jeter, Tianna Madison, Allyson Felix
200 Meters: Allyson Felix, Carmelita Jeter, Sanya Richards-Ross
400 Meters: Sanya Richards-Ross, Dee Dee Trotter, Francena McCorory
800 Meters: Alysia Montano, Geena Gall, Alice Schmidt
1,500 Meters: Morgan Uceny, Shannon Rowbury, Jenny Simpson
5,000 Meters: Julie Culley, Molly Huddle, Kim Conley
10,000 Meters: Amy Hastings, Shalane Flanagan*, Lisa Uhl
110-meter Hurdles: Dawn Harper, Kellie Wells, Lolo Jones
400-meter Hurdles: Lashinda Demus, Georganne Moline, T'Erea Brown
3,000-meter Steeplechase: Emma Coburn, Bridget Franek, Shalaya Kipp
20-kilometer Race Walk: Maria Michta
Discus: Stephanie Brown Trafton, Aretha Thurmond, Gia Lewis-Smallwood
Hammer Throw: Amber Campbell, Amanda Bingson, Jessica Cosby
High Jump: Chaunte Lowe, Brigetta Barrett, Amy Acuff
Heptathlon: Hyleas Fountain, Sharon Day, Chantae McMillan
Javelin: Brittany Borman, Kara Patterson, Rachel Yurkovich
Long Jump: Brittney Reese, Chelsea Hayes, Janay DeLoach
Pole Vault: Jennifer Suhr, Becky Holliday, Lacy Janson
Shot Put: Jillian Camarena-Williams, Michelle Carter, Tia Brooks
Triple Jump: Amanda Smock
* Flanagan qualified for the 10,000-meter run, but will likely contest the marathon instead.
Allyson Felix: Felix's profile soared after her controversial tie with Jeneba Tarmoh for the third and final spot on the 100-meter team, but she was already bold-ink news in the track world.
The remarkably versatile sprinter has won consecutive silver medals in the 200-meter dash and hopes to make it gold in London. For the second Olympics in a row she'll enter as the pre-race favorite, this time after running a world-leading 21.69 at U.S. Olympic Trials.
Lolo Jones: The gorgeous, charismatic Jones became a crossover media sensation after divulging to HBO's Real Sports that she's a virgin. The confession turned her into one of London's biggest stars, but it won't likely lead to the podium. Jones barely qualified for the U.S. team and her times this season are well off the medal pace.
Sanya Richards-Ross: Known in NFL circles as the wife of Jacksonville Jaguars defensive back Aaron Ross, Sanya Richards-Ross may soon eclipse her Super-Bowl-winning husband. Richards-Ross is favored to win the 400 meters and will also contend for a medal in the 200. Should she win gold in both, she'd be just the third woman ever to achieve that particular Olympic double.
Brittney Reese: Reese has won every major international world long jump championship—indoor and outdoor—since the 2008 Beijing Games. She'll serve as the hunted in her quest to become the first American female Olympic long jump champion since Jackie Joyner-Kersee in 1988.
Carmelita Jeter: Jeter disappointed in 2008 when she failed to qualify for the U.S. Olympic team, but since then has run like a woman possessed. She won the 100-meter dash at 2011 Worlds and has the world's second-fastest time this year behind Jamaican rival Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce. Jeter will also contest the 200, where she should contend for a medal.
200 Meters: America's three biggest sprinting stars (hurdles excluded) will all contest this race—Allyson Felix, Carmelita Jeter and Sanya Richards-Ross. Felix will be looking for a long-awaited individual gold medal while Jeter and Richards-Ross will be looking to poach a podium spot in the weaker half of their respective doubles.
The Jamaicans are almost as strong, frontlined by defending gold-medal champ Veronica Campbell-Brown and 100-meter maven Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce.
1,500 Meters: Team USA has never won an Olympic medal in this event, but London bears two hopefuls. Jenny Simpson won the event at 2011 Worlds and Morgan Uceny was the race favorite before a fall in the finals relegated her to 10th place.
100-Meter Hurdles: The media will latch on to Lolo Jones, but Team USA is scary deep in this event. Defending gold medalist Dawn Harper and fellow speedster Kellie Wells are both in the medal conversation. Each will be gunning for Australia's Sally Pearson, the consensus gold-medal favorite.
4x100 Relay: After failing to medal in this event at two consecutive Olympiads, Team USA is looking to re-assert its dominance. Expect a tight duel with the Jamaicans and Russians for gold—that and a fair amount of hubbub surrounding Allyson Felix and Jeneba Tarmoh's reunion on the U.S. relay team.
A look at the nations vying with the United States for track and field supremacy.
Jamaica: Jamaica and the U.S. tend to go strength-for-strength in the sprints, and London will be no different. Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce could well be the fastest woman alive and the Jamaicans are the only nation that can match Team USA's depth at 200 meters. If the Americans under-perform this summer, it'll likely be because the Jamaicans denied them.
Russia: Russia is the world power in field events, with defending world champions in high jump, javelin throw, hammer throw and heptathlon.
Kenya: The Kenyans rule women's distance. At the 2011 World Championships they swept the marathon and 10,000-meter race while capturing both gold and silver at 5,000 meters. America is slowly rising on the distance scene, but not in time to catch Kenya (or Ethiopia) at this Olympic Games.
Beijing was a disappointing meet for the American women (nine medals, three gold), but I fully anticipate a bounce-back in 2012.
Team USA is loaded at all three sprint distances and set to contend in traditionally weak running events like the 800 and 1,500.
And while the throwing events remain a bugaboo, the U.S. has gold-medal field hopefuls in Brittney Reese (long jump) and Chaunte Lowe (high jump).
In all, America brings a balanced and deep team to London and should edge out Russia for first place in the medal table.