Local Olympians Take Aim at Gold


Let the chant begin!

Hampton Roads will be well-represented this year at the Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Local sports fans will be fixed on two major players for team USA. Will Gabby Douglas and LaShawn Merritt strike gold again?

Douglas, a Virginia Beach native was the darling of the 2012 London games when she won two gold medals for team USA in gymnastics. Nicknamed “The Flying Squirrel,” Douglas was the first African-American woman in Olympic history to become the individual all-around champion. Now at the age of 20, Douglas was named to the 5 person team. The women get underway on Sunday with the team final on Tuesday.

Once the women’s gymnastics are settled, it will be time to turn our attention to track and field and Portsmouth native LaShawn Merritt. Merritt won gold medals in the 400 meters and 4×400 meter relay at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. He was the favorite to repeat at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, but two weeks before the event, he tweaked his hamstring and was forced to pull up in a qualifying race and did not finish. Merritt told WAVY Sportscaster Bruce Rader that he feels better than ever and will compete in both the 400 and 200 meters along with the 4×400 meter relay in Rio.

Round 1 of the Men’s 400m begins Friday, August 12th with the finals to be run Sunday, August 14th 9 PM. You can catch the finals on WAVY.

Also keep up with Chesapeake native Byron Robinson who will be competing in the 400m hurdles. Robinson graduated from Western Branch High School. First round of his event will be Monday August 15th with the finals on Thursday, August 18th.

Best of luck to Stefanie Fee and the U.S. Olympic field hockey team competing in Rio. Fee is a Virginia Beach native who played at Cox High School and Duke University. Fee is a defender for team USA and she and her teammates open Pool B play Saturday against world power Argentina.