Michigan's Olympians ready for London - RMDC Olympics Preview

Michigan's Olympians ready for London - RMDC Olympics Preview

By Steve Marcinkowski, RunMichigan.com

Friday, July 27, marks the official start of the 2012 London Olympic Games. The opening ceremony will begin airing at 7:30 PM EST on NBC. There are many Track and Field athletes who will carry their state of Michigan background through the Olympic Games.

In the women’s Marathon, Rochester Hills resident Desiree Davila of the Hansons-Brooks Distance Project, is the second straight member of this elite group to qualify for the Olympic Marathon. Brian Sell is the former Hansons-Brooks member who qualified for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games in the Marathon. The time difference from London to Michigan is 5 hours and is denoted as BST or British Summer Time. With this time difference, the women’s marathon is scheduled for Sunday, August 5th at 11:00 am London time, or 6:00 am EST.

Rockford High School standout and NCAA Cross Country national champion, Dathan Ritzenhein will be representing the USA in his third straight Olympics, having qualified this year in the 10,000 Meter Run. Dathan qualified in 2004 in the 10,000 and for the 2008 Beijing Olympics in the men’s Marathon where he finished in 9th place. Dathan will race on Saturday, August 4th at 11:00 pm BST.

Former Grand Blanc High School and University of Michigan Runner, Geena Gall, qualified for her first Olympics in the 800 Meter Run after finishing second at this year’s US Olympic Trials this past June. The opening round of the women’s 800 Meter Run is slated for an 11:35 am BST start time on Wednesday, August 8th.

Jeff Porter, also a former Michigan Wolverine, qualified for his first Olympic Games in the 110 Meter Hurdles. Round one of action begins Tuesday, August 7th at 10:10 am BST.

Grand Rapids native and former East Kentwood High School Shot Put star, Tia Brooks will be competing in her first Olympic Games after completing her fourth year at Oklahoma University. Tia will enter the qualifying round on Monday, August 6th at 10:45 am BST hoping to make the finals later that day at 7:15 pm.

Jamie Nieto is a 1999 Eastern Michigan University graduate and will be competing in the men’s High Jump. Qualifying for the High Jump begins Sunday, August 5th at 7:05 pm BST.

Lauryn Williams, who lived in the Detroit area with her mother until the 6th grade, will also be competing for Team USA. Lauryn will be a part of the pool of 4x100 Meter Relay runners looking to medal in London.

Internationally, there are 5 athletes with Michigan ties who will be competing at the 2012 Olympic Games.

Tiffany (Ofili) Porter, a 6-time MHSAA track champion while at Ypsilanti High School and also a former University of Michigan athlete and graduate, will be competing for Great Britain in the 100 Meter Hurdles. Tiffany, who is married to former Michigan teammate, Jeff Porter (110 Meter Hurdles), shares both U.S. and British citizenship. Tiffany's father was Nigerian and her mother is British. Round one of the 100 Meter Hurdles is scheduled for 10:05 am BST on Monday, August 6th.

Competing for his native Puerto Rico, Eric Alejandro is a former Eastern Michigan Eagle who qualified for the 2012 London Olympics in the 400 Meter Hurdles. The 400 Meter Hurdles opening round begins Friday, August 3rd at 11:15 am BST.

Former University of Michigan 800 Meter National Champion and current Volunteer Coach for the Wolverines, Nate Brannen, will be competing in the 1500 Meter Run for Canada. Nate will begin his Olympic Games on Friday, August 3rd at 8:05 pm BST.

Fellow Canadian, Nicole (Edwards) Sifuentes, a former University of Michigan Wolverine, will also be competing in the 1500 Meter Run at the Olympic Games. Nicole is coached by Mike McGuire. First round of action starts at 11:45 am BST Monday, August 6th.

Competing for Nigeria in the Women’s Heptathlon, Uhunoma Osazuwa, is also a former University of Michigan athlete.

Finally, yet another former University of Michigan star, Nick Willis will be running the 1500 Meter Run in his third Olympic Games for his home country New Zealand.

RunMichigan.com wishes all of the athletes with ties to our state the best of luck in London!

>> More coverage and details about our Track and Field Olympians with Michigan connections.