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Washington state's Olympians: You did good
As the 2012 Olympics end, the athletes with Washington state connections will return with at least 17 medals. Congratulations to them and to their families and the community for supporting them.
Seattle Times Editorial
Get ready to see some Olympic bling around town and across the state. Not that the Olympic medalists will strut around every day wearing those gold, silver and bronze saucers from London, but who could blame them?
Of the 50 Olympic athletes with connections to Washington state, 17 so far have reached the medals podium.
Nathan Adrian of Bremerton could show up wearing three medals -- two golds and a bronze -- from his swimming events. Mary Whipple guided the women's eight to gold in rowing, and can add that to her gold from 2008 and silver from 2004. And of course there's Richland's Hope Solo and four other women's soccer players with local connections now entitled to show off gold after their victory over Japan.
There's more to come: Washington State University's Bernard Lagat runs in the men's 5,000-meter final Saturday. Women's volleyball finals (Go Courtney Thompson and Tamari Miyashiro!) and basketball games (Go Sue Bird and Lauren Jackson!) Saturday will also add to the tally before the world's premier athletic tournament wraps up Sunday for another four years.
Congratulations to the medal winners -- but also to all who made the world stage in their events. They should be viewed as Queen Underwood hopes she will be.
Underwood of Seattle became the first U.S. women's boxer to compete in the Olympics, losing to heavily favored Natasha Jonas of Great Britain. After the match, Underwood said she hoped "people can look at my journey as a champion inside and outside the ring."
Her journey was one of the toughest. She and her sister were abused physically and sexually by their father. After that Queen drifted, looking for weed, looking for alcohol, looking for parties. Then she found boxing and started working her way to London.
Hazzauna, the older sister and primary support for Queen, wasn't able to make the trip to London -- until a story appeared in The Seattle Times saying she didn't have the money to go see Queen in the Olympics. That's when the community stepped up, donating money so that Hazzauna could be ringside.
That's what it takes to be an Olympian: lots of support from family and community, as well as tens of thousands of dollars. And, of course, the hard work and dedication by the athletes themselves.
They are champions inside and outside the Olympic rings, and support will be needed for them -- and other budding local Olympians -- in the next four years before the next games in Brazil.