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Brad Vering, Greco-Roman wrestling, grew up in Howells, Neb. (pop. 632).
ISLAND OF DEFENSE
The only men's water polo player not from California is goalkeeper Brandon Brooks of Hawaii. Including Brooks, the U.S.'s starting water polo goalie at five of the last six Olympics has been from Hawaii.
Melanie Roach, weightlifting. The 117-pounder—one of 20 mothers on the team—finally made her first Olympics at age 33. Roach set a world record of 250 pounds in the clean and jerk in 1998 but in 2000 suffered a seemingly career-ending herniated disk. Today, the former gymnast runs a gymnastics school in Sumner, Wash., with her husband, Dan, a four-term state representative. The couple has three kids, including a son who is autistic.
If the women's soccer team triumphs, midfielder Shannon Boxx and her sister, Gillian, a catcher on the '96 softball team, will be the first U.S. sisters to win gold in different sports.
T.C. Dantzler, Greco-Roman wrestling. The 37-year-old runs TC logiQ, a background-screening company that he founded in Colorado four years ago. The firm has grown from three employees to 23, and Dantzler plans to take it public in three years.