Tuesday, August 16, 2016

The Many Female Faces of SoCal Olympians At Rio

So hard to take. Allyson Felix of Los Angeles gets overtaken right at the line by a falling Shaunae Miller of the Bahamas
SoCal Female Rio Olympians

There are up to 100 Olympians in Rio who hails from or have ties to Southern California. Many of them are so famous that they need no introductions.

They represent about a handful of sports and disciples and they come from different backgrounds and of are of different shapes, sizes and ages.

If you live or work in SoCal, you might be surprised to know that you might have grown up with one of them or that some of them might be working out, playing or shopping in your neighborhood, or that one of them probably went to the same school you did or frequent the same business establishments you do. You even probably have seen them around town and just don't know it.

Here are some of these amazing athletes.

Kerri Walsh Jennings

Kerri is a mother of three and has competed in five straight Olympic games since 2000 at the Sydney Games. She just celebrated her 38th birthday.

She was born in Santa Clara, went to Archbishop Mitty High School at San Jose and she is currently based off of Manhattan Beach.

She went to Stanford and finished American Studies.

She won three Beach Volleyball gold medals with Misty May Treanor (LA native) at Athens (2004), Beijing (2008) and London (2012). Kerri stands 6'2".

April Ross
This time at Rio (2016), Kerri  is competing with April, a fellow SoCal resident, living at Newport Beach.

April was born at nearby Costa Mesa.

She went to Newport Harbor High School and went to USC where she was a big help in winning back to back Volleyball NCAA titles.

April finished International Marketing in 2005.

Shel won the Beach Volleyball silver medal with Jennifer Kessy at the 2012 London Games, losing to Kerri and Misty at the finals.

Alex Morgan

Like April, Alex is a two time Olympian, having competed at London and now at Rio.

Alex was a member of the US Women's National Soccer Team who won the gold at the 2012 London Games.

She was born in 1989 at San Dimas and went to Diamond Bar High School. At the age of 17 she was called up to the US under 20 Women's National Team.

Alex finished Political Economy at UC Berkeley in 2010.

Allyson Felix

Allyson has competed in four straight Olympic games since 2004, winning 4 gold and 3 silver medals.

She was born in 1985 in LA and went to Los Angeles Baptist High School at North Hills.

Allyson currently resides north of North Hills at Santa Clarita.

Allyson competes in the 100, 200 and the 400 meter run.

She finished Elementary Education in 2007 at USC.

Serena and Venus Williams

The sisters Serena and Venus are the most bemedaled tennis athletes in Olympic history. Serena has 4 medals while Venus has 5.

Venus, the older sister of Serena was born in Lynwood.

Serena began playing the sport at the public tennis courts in Compton starting at the age five.

Serena is a four time Olympian since 2000 and a four time gold medalist. She missed the 2004 Games because of injury. 

Venus is a five time Olympian who competed in five straight Olympiads since 2000. She has won 4 gold medals along with a silver medal.


Gabby Douglas

Gabby is a member of the Fierce Five at the 2012 London Olympics.

She is back with a new team of gymnasts at Rio.

Gabby stands 4'11", she and  Aly Raisman are the only ones left from their Fierce Five days four year ago.

Gabby won two gold medals in 2012 and a gold in Rio.

Gabby has lived in Southern California to be with her family and calls LA as her hometown. Gabby is 20 years old.

Kim Rhode

There are a few more talented and multi-awarded female athletes from SoCal but we will be remiss if we do not add the one athlete that is probably the most neglected, arguably because of the "sport" she has been competing in.

Anyway, her name is Kim Rhode and she just competed in her sixth straight Olympic games (1996, 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2016).

At the 2012 London Games, she became the first American athlete (male or female) to win an Olympic medal at five consecutive Olympics in an individual sport.

At the Rio Games she made history once again as the first American to qualify in five different continents (North America, Australia, Europe, Asia, South America).

Also in these games, she became the first female athlete to win a medal in six consecutive summer games. The only other athlete to do that is Armin Zoeggeler who competed in the winter games and won six medals in six consecutive Olympics.

Kim was born in Whittier and calls El Monte her home. She went to Arroyo High School in El Monte. She finished Food Marketing and Agribusiness Management at California State Polytechnic University in Pomona.

She has won 3 golds, 1 silver and 2 bronze medals in the sport of shooting (trap, double trap and skeet).

Karsta Lowe and Carli Lloyd

Karsta and Carli are a couple of first time Olympians and they are members of the US Women's Volleyball Team.

Karsta standing 6 feet and 4 inches, was born in San Diego and calls Rancho Santa Fe as her hometown. She went to and played college volleyball for UCLA. She graduated in 2015 with a degree in Geography / Environmental Studies.

Carli was born in Fallbrook in Northern San Diego County and calls Bonsall her hometown.

She played volleyball for UC Berkeley where she graduated with a degree in Social Welfare.

Carli has a namesake who plays with Alex Morgan in the soccer team, that's another Carli and she is not from SoCal.

Water Polo

Caroline KK Clark and Rachel Fattal

KK and Rachel are first time Olympians and are members of the US Women's Water Polo Team

KK stands 6 feet 2 inches and was born in Palo Alto in 1990. She calls Menlo Park her hometown.

Rachel was born in 1993 at Los Alamitos and calls Seal Beach home.

KK went to Sacred Heart Preparatory School at Atherton where she totaled 141 goals in her junior and senior year.  She was a member of the US. under 20 water polo team in 2008. She went to UCLA and graduated in 2012 with a degree in History.

Rachel went to Los Alamitos High Schol and took up History also at UCLA.

Kami Craig and Courtney Mathewson

Kami and Courtney are two other team mates of KK and Rachel.

Kami is a three time Olympian.and Courtney is a second time Olympian.

Kami was born in San Luis Obispo, and calls Santa Barbara home. She went to Santa Barbara High School and took up Sociology at USC, graduating in 2010. She has won 1 gold and 1 silver.

Courtney was born in Orange County and calls Anaheim Hills her home. She went to Canyon High School and took up Sociology at UCLA, graduating in 2008. She has won one gold medal.

These four have at least six other team mates hailing from Southern California, all  first time Olympians.

They include sisters Aria and Makenzie Fischer, Kaleigh Gilchrist, Sami Hill, Maddie Musselam and Kiley Neushul

Aria and Makenzie Fisher

Aria and Makenzie were born in Laguna Beach.

Aria is 17 years old and attends Laguna Beach High School.

Makenzie is two years older and is attending Stanford.

She also went to Laguna Beach High School.

Both Makenzie sisters stand over six feet tall.

Kaleigh Gilchrist and Sami Hill


Kaleigh was born in Newport Beach and like April Ross, she  went to Newport Harbor High School.

She graduated at USC with a degree in Communications.

Sami calls Santa Barbara her hometown and went to Dos Pueblos High School in Newport Beach.

She went to UCLA and graduated with a degree in 2015.

Kiley Neushul and Maddie Musselam

Kiley was born in Goleta and calls Isla Vista home.

She went to Dos Pueblos High School and she took up Communications at Stanford, graduating in 2015.

Maddie was born in Newport Beach and went to Corona del Mar High School.

She is only 18 years old.

And There Are Still A Lot More

There are dozens of other female SoCal athletes competing in Rio, many of them are first time Olympians. Among them are:

Kerry Simmonds, who was born in Palo Alto and went to Torrey Pines High School in San Diego. She competed in the sport of rowing and won a gold medal at this Olympic Games.

Briana Provancha is entered in the sport of sailing was born in San Diego and went to Point Loma High School.

Abbey Weizeil is entered in the sport of swimming and she won a silver in this games. She was born in Valencia and went to Saugus High School at nearby Saugus. She got her degree at UC Berkeley.

Alex Morgan has two first time Olympian team mates (Whitney and Christen) who hails from Southern California:


Whitney Engen was born in Torrance and calls Rolling Hills Estates home.

She went to PV Peninsula High School.

Christen Press was born in LA and calls Palos Verdes Estates home.

She went to Chadwick High School and graduated in Stanford with a degree in Communications.

Lauren Fendrick is the third female athlete from SoCal who is competing in the sport of Beach Volleyball in these games.

She was born in San Diego and calls Carlsbad home.

She graduated college at UCLA and then went on to get a law degree at USC.

Allyson Felix has a few more SoCal team members competing in Track and Field and they are:

Barbara Nwaba, a Heptathlete who was born in LA and went to University High School in West LA.

Brenda Martinez who ran in the 1,500 meter race, was born in Upland and went to Rancho Cucamonga High School. She finished Sociology at UC Riverside. She calls Big Bear Lake home.

Whitney Ashley is a discus thrower was born in Riverside, she stand 5 foot 10 inches and weighs 200 pounds.

Whitney went to John W. North High School and calls Moreno Valley her hometown.

She went to Cerritos College and graduated at San Diego State with a degree in Journalism.

Desiree Linden is a two time Olympian was born in San Diego. She is entered in the marathon and went to Hilltop High School at Chula Vista. Desiree stand 5'1" and weighs 96 pounds.

Chaunte Lowe is a four time Olympian and competes in the high jump. She hails from Templeton and calls Riverside her hometown. She went to same high school as discus thrower Whitney and graduated there in 2002.

Note: Some of the medals for the Rio Games have already been won as of this writing, but some are still up for grabs.

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