The XXX Olympiad features inspirational American Latinos competing at the highest level.
More than 500 athletes are representing the United States in the 2012 Olympic Games, including numerous standout Latinos. Here is a cross section of the best U.S. Latino athletes competing in London.
Ryan Lochte, swimming: Michael Phelps ruled men’s swimming in 2004 and 2008, but this year teammate Ryan Lochte has emerged to share the limelight. The son of an American-born father and a Cuban-born mother, Lochte displayed early promise but initially lacked focus. A loss at the Junior Olympics at age 14 motivated him to train harder.
Lochte competed at the 2004 and 2008 Olympics, picking up a total of six medals in individual and team events. Now he is preparing to show the world that he, not Phelps, is the United States best male swimmer. The two will go head-to-head in two individual events, including Saturday night’s 400 individual medley final.
Please note: All event times are EST
Tuesday, July 31 ?4x200m Freestyle Relay Preliminary Heats and Final (6:17 a.m. and 3:47 p.m.)
Wednesday, August 1 ?200-meter Backstroke Preliminary Heats and Semifinals (5:47 a.m. and 2:47 p.m.)?200-meter Individual Medley Preliminary Heats and Semifinals (6:14 a.m. and 3:36 p.m.)
Thursday, August 2? 200-meter Backstroke Final (2:46 p.m.)?200-meter Individual Medley Final (3:16 p.m.)
Danell Leyva, gymnastics: Born in Cuba and raised in Miami, gymnast Danell Leyva qualified for his first Olympics by winning the 2011 U.S. championship. This Latino athlete was coached by stepfather Yin Alvarez, he excels in the high bar. His huge release moves are bound to impress.
July 31: ? men’s team finals ?8:00 pm-12:00 am
August 1: 8:00 pm-12:00 am, NBC: Men’s all-around finals
August 2: ?1:35 am-4:30 am, NBC: Repeat of men’s all-around ?8:00 pm-12:00 am
Marlen Esparza and Joseph Diaz Jr., boxing: The United States is sending 12 boxers to the 2012 Olympics, more than any other nation. Among them is 23-year-old Houston native Marlen Esparza, the first American to qualify for the new Olympic sport of women’s boxing. Despite a nagging foot injury, she managed to earn a first-round bye in the flyweight class and will need to win just one fight to earn at least a bronze medal.
Meanwhile, California native Joseph Diaz Jr. will compete in the men’s bantamweight class. The 19-year-olds father has been his coach since age 10. Diaz earned his spot in the Olympics by finishing fifth overall at last year’s world championships; at age 18, he was the youngest fighter in the entire tournament.
First Match: Aug 5th, 1:30 PM
Quarterfinals: Aug 6th 1:30 pm
Semi Finals: Aug 8th, 1:30 PM
Finals: Aug 9th, 4:30 PM
Next Match: Aug 1st-1: 30 PM and 8:30 PM
Quarterfinals: Aug 5th: 8:30 PM
Finals: Aug 11th, 8:45 PM