Playing the U.S. Olympic name game
BEIJING -- There are 596 names on the 2008 U.S. Olympic team and names, like eyes, are windows into the soul.
Is this a rich team? Well,consider Jennifer Nichols (archery), Shani Marks (track and field), Jennifer Goldsack (rowing), Natalie Golda (water polo), David Banks (rowing) and Emily Silver (swimming). After the opening Kenta Bell (track and field) of the Joanne Dow (track and field), there are both Dremiel Byers (wrestling) and those who would Brian Sell (track and field) until they can buy a Portia McGee (rowing) that will need a Jason Parker (shooting).
The team has been tastefully chosen. Consider the combinations of Damu Cherry (track and field) Spencer Mango (wrestling). Perhaps you'd prefer the spicier duo of Rafeeq Curry (track and field) and Riley Salmon (volleyball). You can wash it down with Mary Wineburg (track and field) and Rick Merlo, (water polo), but be careful not to become a Carlos Boozer (basketball).
It is a colorful team: Consider Matthew Brown (baseball), Michael Redd (basketball), Heidi White (equestrian), Ebonie Floyd (track and field), Mike Hazle (track and field) and Kevin Tan (gymnastics).
It is virtually a royal team: Queen Harrison (track and field), Tayshaun Prince (basketball) and Courtney King-Dye (equestrian).
Meet the team's spiritual leaders: Christian Vande Velde (cycling), Emily Cross (fencing), Merril Moses (water polo), Grace Upshaw (track and field), Hope Solo (soccer) and Monica Abbott (softball).
The team's rebuilding phase has produced the solid foundations of Ariel Rittenhouse (diving), Timothy Morehouse (fencing) and Brenda Villa (water polo) held together by Sarah Hammer (cycling) and fitted into the Bryan Clay (track and field) with a large David Payne (track and field) of Kimberly Glass (volleyball) that will Stuart Holden (soccer) any conditions.
This team is strong in both Mike Day (cycling) and Brandon Knight (baseball) and can perform well in Justin Spring (gymnastics) and in Tiffany-Lynne Snow (field hockey) -- virtually all Casey Weathers (baseball).
Some athletes may seem inexperienced; including Elaine Youngs (volleyball), Lovieanne Jung (softball) and Jason Kidd (basketball), but you can look into the future with Crystl Bustos (softball) and Lloy Ball (volleyball).
The team is sure to stay afloat thanks to Brandon Brooks (water polo), Hyleas Fountain (track and field), Todd Wells (cycling) and Kayla Bashore (field hockey).
The team of multitasking workaholics includes Rebecca Ward (fencing) and Christine Marshall (swimming). If necessary, Kate Barber (field hockey) can trim your Amanda Beard (swimming) and your clothes can be fixed by Angelo Taylor (boxing) and Jarrod Shoemaker (triathlon). Jill Penner (synchronized swimming) will write a guest column about it.
The team may be confusing because Wallace Spearmon Jr. runs, but doesn't throw the javelin and Brad Walker is actually a pole vaulter. Imagine that Gina Miles competes in equestrian, but Dee Dee Trotter competes in track and field. What's more, rower Beau Hoopman doesn't play basketball and soccer player Stephanie Cox doesn't row.
The team runs the emotional gamut, from Tyson Gay (track and field) to Erik Vendt (swimming), and some, like Sue Bird (basketball) and Cat Osterman (softball) can be real animals when they bring their Deontay Wilder (boxing) side into the Ryan Hall (track and field).
U.S. athletes have physically diverse talents, from Kristin Armstrong (cycling) to Jaime Hipp (water polo) to Brenda Shinn (shooting). Feel free to use Heather Mitts (soccer) to make some Tamika Catchings (basketball) and you should be Brooke Able (synchronized swimming) to win on LaShawn Merritt (track and field) in an Ian Waltz (track and field).
Using this Carrie Lingo (field hockey) with such John Gall (baseball) is enough to make Beezie Madden (equestrian), so sending some Tairia Flowers (softball) would be a Keith Smart (fencing) way to get you out of a Shannon Boxx (soccer) and Nancilea Foster (diving) some goodwill.
We'd like to update this list William Daly (rowing), but we've started to Nicole Teter (track and field) and will soon run Caitlin Lowe (softball) until we have no LaShaunte'a Moore (track and field) for you to Matt Reed (triathlon). We're Philip Dunn (track and field) and we must bid you Freddy Adu (soccer).