YOU UP for a
I'm going to
tell you about five young Americans at the peak of their athletic lives. Your
job is to guess how all five lives came together in the past month.
One. As usual,
Elizabeth Loncki is acting very unlady-like, just the way she likes it. It's
2001, she's 18 and she's challenging her dad to a push-up contest. He just did
50, but now Elizabeth is hitting 51.
He could've done
100, and she would've done 101. That's how she is. A 5'5" Energizer Bunny,
she's the furnace that heats the volleyball team at Padua Academy in
Wilmington, Del. She's the darling of the weight room wherever she works out,
spotting guys twice her size.
She also reads
to shut-ins and runs errands for seniors. And seems like twice a week, she'll
get up early so she can get balloons for somebody at school. Just don't try
calling her "sweet."
(Cap'n) Freeman is about to become one of the best in the world at something he
never thought he'd even try—bobsledding.
A burly brakeman
from the virtually snowless town of Temecula, Calif., Freeman digs in, grunts
and pushes the U.S. to a bronze medal at the 2002 America's Cup in Lake Placid,
N.Y. But Freeman isn't just the piston for his sled team, he's also the soul of
it—willing to push for drivers other than his own, just to give them a chance
to develop with a few more runs. "A total team guy," says Steven
Holcomb, the current World Cup bobsled points leader. "I wouldn't be where
I am today without Brian."
Three. If you'd
been there when Shawn Falter was a toddler, with those massive braces on both
legs, you wouldn't believe what you're seeing now, as the senior leads his
1998--99 Homer (N.Y.) High basketball team. No longer pigeon-toed, he's
blocking shots, rebounding like a man on a caffeine drip, scoring when it's
needed and setting up teammates the rest of the time.
You should see him on the football field, scoring TDs at tight end and trying
to decapitate receivers at safety. And all while being skinnier than a
heart," marvels Jeff Tabel, who was his hoops coach. "Born to