New York state is well-represented in the Summer Olympics, which start next week in London.
Soccer star Abby Wambach leads a contingent of 37 athletes who call the Empire State home.
The breakdown for New York: six athletes in track and field; five in fencing; four in rowing; three each in equestrian, sailing and swimming; two in boxing, judo, and women’s basketball; and one each in men’s volleyball, women’s soccer, archery, field hockey, shooting, cycling and gymnastics.
New York is second behind only California for states with the most athletes competing.
In all, 530 athletes — 269 women and 261 men — have been chosen to represent the United States. It’s the first time Team USA has had more women than men.
Wambach, from the Rochester suburb of Pittsford, is perhaps the most well-known. She’s 32 and has battled injuries in recent years. The forward has the second-most goals in the history of the women’s game (138 in 181 matches for the U.S.). She and her teammates open their Olympic schedule next Wednesday against a tough France team that finished fourth at the 2011 Women’s World Cup.
It’s do or die for the two-time defending champions, who won their final pre-Olympics tuneup game on Saturday in Darlington, England, defeating Norway 2-0. And Wambach, who scored the gold medal-winning goal at the 2004 Athens Olympics to give the U.S. an overtime victory over Brazil, has something extra riding on this Olympic trip. After struggling for three years, Women’s Professional Soccer went belly-up May 18, joining the Women’s United Soccer Association (2001-03) as the second failed attempt at an American league.
Another Olympic triumph would serve as an impetus to attract sponsors and get a new circuit going.
“What I do know is bringing home gold from London is going to give us more opportunity at restarting a league,” Wambach told The Democrat & Chronicle of Rochester. “We believe that’s our way of hooking corporate America to get a league not only started, but stable.
“No team has ever won World Cup and Olympics back to back,” Wambach said. “Every time we enter a world championship we’re out to win.”
Equestrian star Beezie Madden of Cazenovia is making her third appearance in the Summer Olympics. Madden, who was born in Milwaukee, rode Authentic, her “once-in-a-lifetime” horse, to a gold medal in team jumping and a bronze medal in individual jumping at the 2004 Athens Games. The 48-year-old Madden and Authentic also won bronze in individual jumping at the 2008 Beijing Games.
Notre Dame track and field alum Molly Huddle locked up her first Olympics appearance, finishing second in the 5,000-meter run at trials in Eugene, Ore. Huddle, a native of Elmira, and winner Julie Culley dominated the field to lock up the top two spots and punch their ticket to London for the 2012 games.
Page 2 of 2 - Huddle is in elite company in Notre Dame history. She’s the first Irish female track and field alum to qualify for an Olympics and the first American since Rick Wohlhuter in 1976.
Among the track and field standouts is Lopez Lomong, who lives in Marietta, N.Y. Lomong, one of the lost boys of the Sudan, will compete in the 5,000 meters.
Jason Turner of Rochester is back for his third Olympics in shooting. He won bronze in the 10m Air Pistol event at Beijing in 2008 after a North Korean was stripped of the medal for testing positive for a banned substance. Turner placed 21st in Men’s 50m Pistol.