How did you spend your summer vacation? These talented American teens captured the hearts of a country–and set a few records–in London.
A rising senior at Northwestern (Flint, Mich.), Shields honed her skills by training against guys at Berston Field House and showed the world what her coach, Jason Crutchfield, already knew: she's really, really good. Despite taking up boxing only six years ago, Shields cruised into the gold-medal match, where she knocked off Russia's Nadezda Torlopova. Shields, 17, could hardly contain her excitement, letting out a scream on the podium. Later, she wondered if that gold medal was all a dream.
That's why I can't believe it! I've had so many dreams and for my Gold medal dream to come true, I just can't believe it! It don't seem real
— Claressa Shields (@Claressashields) August 12, 2012
The youngest Olympian ever to compete in the equestrian jumping discipline, Kessler failed to medal, but proved she belonged on the world's greatest stage.
Such an amazing first Olympics so thankful to my team especially Cylana. Amazing for GB to win at home!Excited to cheer on Rich + McLain!
— Reed Kessler (@ReedCat5000) August 6, 2012
The Notre Dame-bound fencer won her opening match in London before losing in the quarterfinals of the women's individual foil, 15-10. Kiefer, who's a good bet to be back in the Olympics in 2016, may be best remembered for the patriotic mask she sported in London.
Gabby Douglas, McKayla Maroney, Aly Raisman, Kyla Ross, Jordyn Wieber
What more can you say about this group? The
Fab Fierce Five won the United States' first gold medal in the team competition since the Magnificent Seven's memorable performance at the 1996 Games in Atlanta and Gabby Douglas added a gold in the women's all-around. In the end, the disappointment of reigning world champion Jordyn Wieber's failure to qualify for the all-around was overshadowed by good news. Aly Raisman, whose parents get really into watching her compete, captured gold on the floor exercises and a bronze on beam. McKayla Maroney won silver on vault and sparked a meme in the process. How could you not be impressed with what this team accomplished?
Got to go to the Olympic basketball game tonight! USA dominated, the dancers and jump ropers were awesome, and the DJ killed it!
— McKayla Maroney (@McKaylaMaroney) August 10, 2012
Missy Franklin, Katie Ledecky, Lia Neal
Franklin, a rising senior at Regis Jesuit (Aurora, Colo.) and a big Justin Bieber fan, won four golds and a bronze in her Olympics debut, and was one of the darlings of the Games. Ledecky, a rising sophomore at School of the Sacred Heart (Bethesda, Md.) and the youngest member of the U.S. Olympic team at 15 years old, won gold and set an American record in her only event, the 800-meter freestyle. Neal won a bronze in the 4×100 freestyle relay.
What an incredible night! Closing ceremonies were unbelievable but I am EXHAUSTED! I'll post a few pics before bed��
— Missy Franklin (@FranklinMissy) August 13, 2012
Women’s Table Tennis
Ariel Hsing, Erica Wu, Lily Zhang
Hsing advanced to the third round in women's singles before losing to eventual gold medal winner Li Xiaoxia of China. You can expect to see Hsing, a rising senior at Valley Christian (San Jose, Calif.), at the 2016 Games.