Minnesota connection: Fourteen of 'us' for Games

  • Article by: RACHEL BLOUNT , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 25, 2012 - 6:41 AM

Want to be sure to keep tabs on athletes with Minnesota ties competing in the Olympics for Team USA? Here is a quick rundown of all 14, including when they compete and how to find them on Twitter.

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Former Gopher Lindsey Berg (4) celebrated with teammates during a United States match against Japan. Berg is the starting setter and captain for Team USA.

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Lindsey Berg

Sport: Volleyball (women's indoor)

Tie: Gophers

Twitter: @Napela

Competes: Tournament begins Saturday and ends Aug. 11.

After being a backup in the 2004 and 2008 Olympics, Berg, 32, has grown into a new role as the starting setter and captain for the U.S. team. Her play has helped the Americans to three consecutive World Grand Prix titles, and they enter London ranked No. 1 in the world. Last year, Berg was named USA Volleyball Indoor Female Athlete of the Year for the second time in four years. In September, she will be inducted into the Gophers' M Club Hall of Fame.

Ali Bernard

Sport: Wrestling (women's 72-kilogram freestyle)

Tie: New Ulm

Twitter: @asbernard86

Competes: Aug. 9

Coming off her bronze-medal performance at last year's world championships, Bernard was favored to make her second Olympic team. She was upset by Stephany Lee at April's trials, but when Lee was suspended in June because of a positive drug test, Bernard was given the roster spot. A five-time collegiate national champion in Canada, Bernard, 26, finished fifth at the Beijing Olympics and was a gold medalist at the university world championships earlier this year.

Chas Betts

Sport: Wrestling (84-kilogram Greco-Roman)

Tie: St. Michael

Twitter: @chasbetts

Competes: Aug. 6

Betts, 26, defeated fellow Minnesotan Jordan Holm at the Olympic trials to become the latest wrestler from the state to qualify. A member of the Minnesota Storm club, Betts is based at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs and has been part of the national team since 2009. The 2011 U.S. Open champion, he placed second at the Pan American Qualifier to earn the U.S. a place in the Olympic tournament at 84 kg and has been the gold medalist at two international tournaments in 2012.

Rachel Bootsma

Sport: Swimming (women's 100-meter backstroke)

Tie: Eden Prairie

Twitter: @r_bootsma15

Competes: Preliminaries and semifinals Sunday, finals Monday.

At the Olympic trials last month, Bootsma, 18, swam the fourth-fastest time in the world this year in the semifinals of the women's 100 backstroke. She then defeated Natalie Coughlin -- winner of the past two Olympic gold medals in the event -- in the finals to win a place on the team. Bootsma has been among the nation's best young swimmers since age 14 and was considered a top prospect for the 2016 Olympics. Instead, she will make her Summer Games debut less than two months after graduating from Eden Prairie High School.

Kelci Bryant

Sport: Diving (women's 3-meter synchronized)

Tie: Gophers

Twitter: @Kelci_Bryant

Competes: Sunday

A two-time NCAA champion for the Gophers, Bryant took a sabbatical from school in 2011-12 to put all her energy into making the Olympic team. It paid off, as she and partner Abby Johnston won their event at last month's Olympic trials. Bryant, 23, from Chatham, Ill.,won the NCAA 3-meter title as a sophomore and the 1-meter title as a junior. This will be her second Olympic appearance after finishing fourth in synchronized 3-meter at the Beijing Games.

Kara Goucher

Sport: Track and field (women's marathon)

Tie: Duluth Twitter: @karagoucher

Competes: Aug. 5

The former Kara Wheeler found her stride at Duluth East High School, where she won multiple state cross-country championships. A 2008 Olympian in the 5,000 and 10,000 meters, Goucher, 33, has since stepped up--and excelled at the marathon distance. She finished third at the 2008 New York City Marathon in 2 hours, 25 minutes, 53 seconds, the fastest debut ever by an American woman. Now the mother of a 21-month-old son, Goucher placed third at the Olympic trials to earn her place in London.

Megan Kalmoe

Sport: Rowing (women's quadruple sculls)

Tie: St. Croix Falls, Wis., but grew up in Minneapolis

Twitter: @megankalmoe

Competes: Preliminary heats Saturday, repechage Monday, finals Aug. 1

Kalmoe, who still has family in Minneapolis, will return to the Olympics in a different event. She finished fifth in the double sculls at the Beijing Games and moves to a bigger boat for London. After entering the sport as a walk-on at the University of Washington, Kalmoe, 28, developed into a world-class rower, earning a silver medal in the quad sculls at the 2011 world championships.

Kevin Love

Sport: Men's basketball

Tie: Timberwolves

Twitter: @kevinlove

Competes: The tournament begins Sunday and ends Aug. 12

Love, 23, will play in his first Olympics after winning a gold medal with the U.S. at the 2010 world championships. He averaged 5.7 points and 4.9 rebounds per game, shooting 57 percent from the field as the Americans won their first world title since 1994. With a dearth of big men on the roster, Love, a natural power forward, is expected to log lots of minutes at center. He is suited to the international game, and Mike Krzyzewski lauded his versatility and athleticism.

Lynx players

Sport: Women's basketball

Compete: The tournament begins Saturday and ends Aug. 11

Seimone Augustus

Twitter: @seimoneaugustus

Maya Moore

Twitter: @MooreMaya

Lindsay Whalen

More ties: Hutchinson, Gophers

Twitter: @Lindsay_13

No WNBA team placed as many players on the U.S. team as the Lynx. Augustus, 28, returns to the Games after helping the team go 8-0 to win gold in Beijing. Whalen, 30, and Moore, 23, make their Olympic debuts; both were on the U.S. team that won the 2010 world championship. The U.S. has won the past four Olympic gold medals and is 50-3 overall in Olympic play.

Alise Post

Sport: Cycling (women's BMX)

Tie: St. Cloud

Twitter: @alisepost11

Competes: Seeding runs, Aug. 8; semifinals and finals, Aug. 10

When the qualifying period for the Olympics began last fall, Post, 21, still was recovering from major knee surgery. She resumed competition in the spring and quickly regained her place as one of the best BMX racers in the world. A state high school gymnastics champ at St. Cloud Tech, Post had the international résumé to be on the 2008 Olympic cycling team but hadn't reached the minimum age of 19. She finished eighth in the recent world championships.

Susie Scanlan

Sport: Fencing

Tie: St. Paul

Twitter: None

Competes: Individual epee, Monday; team epee, Aug. 4

While she was still attending St. Paul Central High School, Scanlan, 22, began competing in fencing events around the world. She took a leave from college at Princeton to train toward the Olympics; in May, she was one of three women named to the U.S. epee team. Scanlan trains at the Twin Cities Fencing Club in St. Paul with coach Roberto Sobalvarro, who will coach the women's epee squad at the Olympics. The team has earned some of the best results in U.S. history.

Amanda Smock

Sport: Track and field (women's triple jump)

Tie: Melrose

Twitter: @AJTSMOCK

Competes: Qualification round, Aug. 3; finals, Aug. 5

Four years ago, Smock trained with Shani Marks of Apple Valley, helping her friend reach the Olympics in the triple jump. Smock continued pursuing her own Olympic dream and made the team for London by winning her event at last month's Olympic trials. A North Dakota State graduate who trains in Minneapolis, Smock, 29, won the 2011 U.S. outdoor title and the 2012 indoor title. She also competed in last year's world championships.

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