Going for Gold
Meet Diablo Country’s 2012 Olympians.
Anthony Fahden (far left)
Courtesy of U.S. Rowing
When the London 2012 Olympic Games kick off July 27, the East Bay will be well-represented by local athletes competing with the world’s best. We profiled 11-time medalist Natalie Coughlin (swimming), and first-time Olympians Mariya Koroleva (synchronized swimming) and Kristian Ipsen (synchronized diving) in our July issue. This month, we catch up with 11 more East Bay Olympians competing in fencing, rowing, track and field, and water polo.
Athletes: Peter Varellas of Moraga will be competing for the men’s team while Walnut Creek’s Melissa Seidemann, Danville’s Maggie and Jessica Steffens, and Orinda’s Heather Petri will compete for the women’s team.
Eyes on the prize: Olympic athletes have different ways of staying focused on making it to the Games, but few methods are as adorable as Heather Petri’s. “Right next to my bed, I have a small bear with the British flag on its chest, leaning against a postcard that says London,” says Petri. “It is the first thing I see when I wake up.”
When to watch: Men’s water polo begins July 29; women’s water polo begins July 30.
Athletes: Anthony Fahden of Lafayette and Scott Gault of Piedmont made the men’s rowing team, while Clayton’s Kara Kohler and Livermore’s Julie Nichols made the women’s team.
Eyes on the prize: Gault has come a long way from his early efforts at competitive rowing: “During my first race, I lost my oar and single-handedly lost the race for the whole team,” he says. “Rowing represents a pure sense of competition, which must have been what kept drawing me back.”
When to watch: Rowing events begin July 28.
From left to right: Jessica Steffens, Melissa Seidemann, Heather Petri // Courtesy of U.S. Water Polo
Athletes: Doris Willette of Lafayette will compete in women’s fencing, and Cal alum Alysia Montaño of Berkeley will compete in the women’s 800-meter race in the track and field competition.
Eyes on the prize: Montaño, a four-time national champion in the 800-meter, will finally realize her Olympic dream after a foot injury in the 2008 trials had her carted off the track in a wheelchair.
When to watch: Women’s fencing begins July 28; women’s 800-meter begins August 8.
For more information, and to follow their journeys, go to diablomag.com/olympics.