3 Fayette graduates in London for Olympics


Three graduates from Fayette County high schools are in London for the 2012 Olympics which start this week with women’s soccer (today at noon) and the Opening Ceremonies on Friday.

Christian Taylor won the Olympic Trials in Oregon in the Triple Jump and is headed to London to go for the gold. The Sandy Creek graduate and former Florida Gator broke his own record in the event in Oregon and currently has the record at Hayward Field in Oregon.

Competing for the University of Florida, Christian Taylor was a 10-time NCAA All-American. But his career went to a new level when he won the 2011 World Outdoor title with the third best American performance of all-time. At age 21 he was the youngest jumper in the final.

Within the 10 All-American honors are three NCAA Championships (2010 outdoor triple jump; 2009 and 2010 indoor triple jump). Taylor has also won a total of eight SEC championships in the long jump, triple jump and 4x400m relay.

His high school career was just as impressive.

Competing for Sandy Creek High School, Taylor is the Georgia state record holder in the long jump (25-6), triple jump (52-0) and 400m (47.19). He was also selected the 2008 Gatorade Athlete of the Year for the state of Georgia. Taylor chose to forgo his last year of collegiate eligibility and sign with Li-Ning, a Chinese athletic company. He is coached by 2011 Nike Coach of the Year Rana Reider.

In the recent Diamond League meet in London, Taylor won the Triple Jump with a jump of 17.41 meters.

The Men’s Triple Jump will start with qualifying on August 7 at 10:45 a.m. The finals will take place August 9 at 7:20 p.m.

Follow Christian Taylor on Twitter @Taylored2jump

Starr’s Mill and Stanford University graduate Kelly O’Hara is a member of the U.S. women’s soccer team. O’Hara, who saw some action in the last Women’s World Cup, now plays fullback for the U.S. after spending most of her time on the field as a forward.

“We need outside backs that can come from behind,” head coach Pia Sundhage said in an article on ussoccernews.com. “We have great options at outside mid right now, and I don’t know if that will be her position in the future, but right now the team needs her at outside back.”

O’Hara got the start at fullback in a 2-1 win over Canada on June 30.

Follow Kelley O’Hara on Twitter @kohara19.

The U.S. will open Group G play today, July 25 — two days before the Opening Ceremonies — against France (12 p.m. ET) at the famed Hampden Park, Scotland’s National Stadium in Glasgow. The USA will then face Colombia at Hampden Park on July 28 (12 p.m. ET) and finish group play against Korea DPR on July 31 (12:15 p.m. ET) at the legendary Old Trafford in Manchester, home to Manchester United.

As coordinator, marketing communications with the United States Olympic Committee based in Colorado Springs, Christa Mann, a former GSU student-athlete (2008), has her sleeves rolled up promoting U.S. Olympic hopefuls and nominees.

“These are the greatest athletes in the world, so it’s hard to put into words what it means to contribute to a small part of their dreams.” Mann said of her behind-the-scenes role with the USOC. “This is such a special opportunity for me because I can still combine my love for sport and media while supporting so many accomplished, world-class athletes.”

Mann served as a team captain for the GSU soccer teams and went on to play a year of professional soccer in Iceland after graduating in 2008 with a degree in journalism. She had starred at McIntosh High in Peachtree City, before enrolling at Georgia State.

If you want to keep up with Mann and her Olympic endeavors supporting Team USA, just follow along on her twitter account @TheChristaMann.