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Area athletes in the 1996 Summer Games

Ben Amonette, Radford, Va.
One of the most consistent performers in both air pistol and free pistol the past several years, Amonette brings experience and a steady hand to the U.S. team. Amonette's first international success came at the 1991 Pan American Games, where he won a silver medal. He qualified for the 1992 Olympics, and finished in a five-way tie for 14th in air pistol. In April, Amonette-who works in customer service for a gunpowder manufacturer-finished first in the trials in both air and free pistol.

Derek Brown, Washington
Team Handball
A track and basketball standout at Gonzaga High School who also ran track at LaSalle University, Brown failed to qualify for the 1992 Olympic track team. But in handball, the naturally athletic Brown found his true calling, and has turned into one of the U.S. team's top offensive threats.

Washington Post feature on Derek Brown:
U.S. Team Sheds Light On Unfamiliar Sport, June 21, 1996

Douglas Burden, Washington

Burden, 30, a three-time Olympian, rows sweep on the men's eight. The researcher/editor at Cambridge Data & Development won a bronze medal in 1988 and a silver in 1992. Burden graduated in 1988 from Princeton, where he was named athlete of the year. His grandfather, Harald Paumgarten, was a gold medalist for the Austrian ski team. Burden has been a novice crew coach at Georgetown University and is a member of the Potomac Rowing Club.

Washington Post feature on Douglas Burden:
After Retirement, U.S. Picks Up Burden, July 5, 1996

Elizabeth Callahan, Upper Marlboro

Whether on the job or off it, Callahan's life always seems to focus around guns-and it has made her one of the top female shooters in the nation. At work, Callahan is an expert on crowd control, riots and guns for the D.C. Police Department and spends her time training officers in weapons use. Away from work, Callahan seldom strays far from a shooting range-especially these days. Callahan will be competing in her second Olympics in sport pistol, and is confident she will improve on her 37th-place finish in air pistol in Barcelona that she considers a "disappointment."

Washington Post feature on Elizabeth Callahan:
This Olympian Is No. 1 With a Bullet, June 28, 1996

Dana Chladek, Kensington

Chladek, 32, was a bronze medalist at the 1992 Olympics in women's kayak but has battled a shoulder injury since. She easily won both days of the U.S. trials on the Ocoee River in Tennessee in May after finishing fifth overall in world competition the past two years. She was born in Czechoslovakia, moved to the United States at age 5 and graduated from Dartmouth in 1986 with a degree in French literature. Parents Stan and Ema Chladek were on the Czechoslovakian national team; husband Thierry Humeau won the bronze for France in men's slalom canoe at the 1989 world championships.

Mark Coogan, University of Maryland

Coogan, who lives in Boulder, Colo., is a versatile distance runner. He finished 10th at the 1992 Olympic trials in the steeplechase, then switched to the marathon. He ran an eye-opening 2:13.24 in his first Boston Marathon in 1994 to finish 22nd, followed by a second-place finish at the 1995 Pan Am Games (2:15.21). Coogan's wife, Gwyn, was a 1992 Olympian in the 10,000 meters, but failed to make the 1996 Games in either the marathon or the 10,000. In 1992, Mark sat in the stands and cheered for his wife. In 1996, it will be the other way around.

Tony Dave, Washington
Team handball

One of several basketball converts playing team handball, Dave was second-team all-Western Athletic Conference in basketball at the University of New Mexico, then transferred to Eastern New Mexico. A few years after graduation, Dave switched to team handball. A four-year member of the national team, Dave played in both the 1995 world championships and the 1995 USA NationsBank Cup. A native of Washington, he now lives in Colorado Springs and plays on the Colorado Pioneers club team.

Ruth Davidon, Arlington

Davidon, 32, rows women's single sculls. A medical student at Johns Hopkins University, she won a bronze medal at the 1993 world championships while competing with three broken ribs. Davidon has won six national titles since 1993. She is a volunteer for Habitat for Humanity and UNICEF's Olympic Aid. She graduated from Amherst College with a degree in biochemistry in 1987 and rows for the Potomac Boat Club.

Dominique Dawes, Silver Spring

Dominique Dawes When she was 15, Dawes won a bronze medal in team competition at the 1992 Olympics. She thought then that by 1996, she would be retired, in college and moving on with her life. But she was wrong. In 1994, the year she won the national all-around title and swept all four individual events, Dawes decided to give the Olympics another try. Because she has grown five inches since the '92 Games, Dawes and coach Kelli Hill reworked her programs-and the results have been remarkable. She won the '96 Olympic trials and will be an integral part of the strongest U.S. women's team in history.

Some Washington Post features on Dominique Dawes:

Tom Dolan, Arlington

Dolan used to compete with his father to see who could drink his milk faster at the dinner table. Now he regularly beats the world's best swimmers in the 400-meter individual medley. Dolan, a 20-year-old University of Michigan junior, battles asthma and a narrow wind pipe and has passed out twice the past year in practice because of his ailments. But he still qualified for the U.S. team in the 400 and 200 IM, and the 400 freestyle. He is favored to win the gold in the 400 IM, the event in which he set the world record of 4:12.30 in 1994. Dolan is known for saying whatever's on his mind and for wearing a tattoo, an earring and a baseball cap on backward.

Washington Post features on Tom Dolan:

Amy Feng, Wheaton
Table tennis

Although she has won every national championship tournament she has entered, the 1996 Olympics will be the first for Feng, 26, who because a U.S. citizen last year. Feng, who was born in China, has won the U.S. national championship three straight years and eight national titles (in singles, doubles and mixed doubles) overall. Feng, who was seeded first at the U.S. Olympic trials, is the women's team's brightest hope for a medal.

Carin Gabarra, Annapolis

Gabarra, 31, is the coach of the Naval Academy women's team and the oldest player on the U.S. team. One of the top scorers in U.S. women's history, Gabarra played in the 1991 and 1995 Women's World Cup and was named most outstanding player of the 1991 tournament. Husband Jim is player-coach for the Washington Warthogs indoor soccer team. Gabarra probably won't be a starter at the Games.

Seth Greisinger, Falls Church

Greisinger-who had not exactly turned heads in his first two seasons at the University of Virginia-was having an outstanding third season for the Cavaliers in April when he was invited to try out for the U.S. team. And it's only gotten better. Greisinger was drafted in the first round-sixth overall-by the Detroit Tigers in the June major league baseball draft after compiling a 12-2 record and 1.76 ERA, which led the nation among Division I pitchers. He could be the ace of the Olympic staff.

Washington Post feature on Seth Greisinger:
Greisinger Turns Around, Eyes Olympics, May 1, 1996

Sean Hall, Arlington

Hall, 28, rows sweep in men's four without coxswain. He graduated from Washington-Lee High School, where he wrestled, played soccer and rowed. The Rutgers University graduate was fourth at the 1992 Olympics in men's four and was on the winning men's eight at the 1994 world championships. He started rowing in 1983 at Potomac Boat Club and now trains in Chula Vista, Calif.

Mia Hamm, Burke

The 24-year-old forward, an all-American from Lake Braddock High, is considered one of the top players in the world. She made her national team debut at age 15 and played in the 1991 and 1995 World Cup. At North Carolina, Hamm was the all-time leader in ACC history in goals (103) and assists (72). She likely will start in the Games.

Washington Post feature on Mia Hamm:
All Grown Up, Hamm Comes on Strong, May 23, 1995

Sharon Hanson, Fairfax Station
Track and field

Hanson, an assistant track and field coach at George Mason, decided to show her athletes exactly how to make an Olympic team when she finished a surprising third at the U.S. Olympic trials in the heptathlon. Hanson is coaching while she trains and is in her second season as the multievents/hurdles coach at George Mason after working for a year at Cal Poly. Before that, she worked four seasons as a summer camp track and field instructor in California. Hanson had been fifth in the nation the past two years in the heptathlon.

Rob Harbison, Fallston, Md.

A first-time Olympian, Harbison is hoping he can do in the Olympics as he has done recently in international competition in the three-position rifle. Last month, Harbison won the gold at the World Cup in Munich against virtually the same competition he will face in Atlanta. In 1995, he won the World Cup in Seoul and also captured the gold at the Pan American Games, setting a world record along the way. When not competing, Harbison, who is stationed in Phenix City, Ala., is a captain in the U.S. Army Marksmanship unit. Harbison also served in the Persian Gulf War and won a Bronze Star for valor in combat.

Ronnie Harris, Navy
Track and field

In 1988, Harris qualified for the Olympic trials, but he had just graduated from the Naval Academy and had to fulfill his service obligation as a surface warfare officer. In 1992, he was hoping to go to the trials, but he received another Navy assignment and didn't have time to train. But in 1996, Harris, now 31 and living in Arlington as a Navy lieutenant, went to the trials and finished third in the 5,000 meters to qualify for the U.S. team. Harris's return to running has included several triumphs the past few years: winning New York City's Fifth Avenue Mile in 1993; a gold medal at the Olympic Festival in the 5,000 in 1994; and first place in the Army 10-mile run in Washington last October.

Washington Post feature on Ronnie Harris:
A Race With Olympic Proportions, May 23, 1995

Cathy Hearn, Brookmont, Md.

Hearn, 38, became the first U.S. woman world whitewater kayaking champion when she took three gold medals at the 1979 world championships in Jonquiere, Quebec. She was ninth at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona and sixth at the 1995 worlds in Nottingham, England. She is sister of current world whitewater men's canoeing champion Davey Hearn. She holds a degree in athletic physiology and psychology from Hampshire College in Amherst, Mass.

Davey Hearn, Brookmont, Md.

Hearn, 37, won the world whitewater slalom canoeing championships in 1985 and 1995 and is the current world champion. He was 11th at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona. He and longtime training partner, Jon Lugbill of Oakton, dominated international competition from 1979 to '89; Lugbill was fourth at the '92 Games but did not make the Olympic team this year. Hearn graduated from the University of Massachusetts in 1982 with a geology degree; sister Cathy is an Olympic kayaker and wife Jennifer is a member of the U.S. national kayak team.

Mark Henderson, Fort Washington

Henderson thought his Olympic dream might be over after he finished a disappointing seventh in the 100-meter butterfly at the 1992 Olympic trials. He tended bar for a while in Berkeley, Calif., after graduating from the University of California, then trained in a pool that had glass and garbage sitting on the bottom. But he later caught on with the U.S. resident team, a new program designed to keep post-college graduates training toward the 1996 Games. He moved to Colorado Springs, trained in the high altitude for a year and finished second at the Olympic trials. In a wide-open event at the Games, Henderson is hoping for a medal to put a fitting ending to his 18-year swimming career.

Washington Post feature on Mark Henderson:
Henderson Floats Like a Butterfly, March 11, 1996

Juli Speights Henner, W.T. Woodson High School
Track and field

Henne proved to herself that she could run well on the track at Atlanta's Olympic Stadium with an upset victory in May over Mozambique's Maria Mutola in the 1,500 meters at a Grand Prix meet. She did it again in June when she finished second in the 1,500 to qualify for the Games. Henner, 26, graduated from James Madison University in 1992 and still lives and trains in Harrisonburg, Va. She has made a big leap to the top of her event in the past year; she managed only a ninth-place finish in the 1,500 last year at the national championships, although she came in second at the World University Games.

Grant Hill, Reston

Grant Hill isn't used to waiting. He won a national championship his freshman year at Duke University and was voted onto the all-star team in his first NBA season. But the former South Lakes High School star had the misfortune of being in college when USA Basketball decided to use professional players at the 1992 Olympics. "At the time, I kind of regretted it," Hill said. "Now, I guess I'm for it."

Some Washington Post features on Grant Hill:

Steve Jennings, Bethesda
Field hockey

Jennings, an assistant coach at American University, joined the national team in 1992 and has been one of its most consistent scoring threats. At the 1995 Pan American Games, Jennings helped lead the team to a bronze medal with four goals. At a recent four-team tournament in Barcelona, Jennings, the team's co-captain, was a key contributor as the team went 2-0-1.

Allen Johnson, Fairfax
Track and field

When Johnson graduated from Lake Braddock High in Burke and went to North Carolina, the Tar Heels thought they might make him a decathlete. He could high-jump 6 feet 11, long-jump 24-5" and triple-jump nearly 49 feet. But it soon became clear that Johnson was best at the high hurdles, and that is what he won at the world championships last year in Sweden. Johnson, 25, also won the Olympic trials in the 110 hurdles, which is a hotly contested event in the United States. He will be one of the favorites to win the gold medal in Atlanta.

Washington Post feature on Allen Johnson:
Johnson Hurdles His Way to Meet Record, March 14, 1992

Katie Kauffman, University of Maryland
Field hockey

By sitting out the 1995 season to concentrate on making the Olympic team, Kauffman missed a chance to be part of the Terrapins' run toward the national title, which ended with a close loss in the championship game. But somehow, that seemed like a fair trade after Kauffman was named one of 16 players on the U.S. roster for Atlanta. Kauffman, an all-American after her junior season, continued to improve her already solid game with a a year of training with the national team, and will be one of the keys to the U.S.'s defense in the Atlanta.

Washington Post feature on Katie Kauffman:
Winning Attitude Goes National, July 18, 1996

Michelle Knox-Zaloom, Edgewater, Md.

Knox-Zaloom, 31, who rows bow in women's sculls, went to George Washington University on a volleyball scholarship, earned seven varsity letters and later got a graduate degree in public administration. She was the first woman inducted into GW's athletic hall of fame. She is an evaluator with the U.S. General Accounting Office and rows for the Potomac Boat Club. In her spare time she likes sailboat racing, flying and sewing, and she sewed her own wedding dress.

Washington Post feature on Michelle Knox-Zaloom:
DC Woman Triumphs at Royal Henley Regatta, July 3, 1993

Mark Lenzi, Stafford, Va.
Mark Lenzi
Born on the Fourth of July, 1968, Lenzi has been an atypical American success story since winning the three-meter springboard gold in Barcelona. Shut out of endorsements or financial opportunities, he was broke, living the life of a couch potato in his apartment in Bloomington, Ind. Lenzi even talked about selling his gold medal to pay for flight school. But the Fredericksburg native decided to try for another Olympic berth, got into shape after his 20-month retirement-and made the team. Inspired by watching Greg Louganis in the 1984 Olympics, Lenzi gave up wrestling as a senior in high school and began diving.

Some Washington Post features on Mark Lenzi:

Jair Lynch, Washington
Jair Lynch
Lynch made his second Olympic team, but he had to survive two excruciating falls off the nine-foot high horizontal bar at the trials to do it. Lynch, 24, a 1989 graduate of Sidwell Friends, trains at Stanford, where he competed as a collegian. In addition to preparing for the Games, Lynch holds down a full-time job as a real estate developer for Silicon Graphics, a computer systems company. The current national champion on parallel bars, Lynch worked with one of the Stanford football team's strength coaches to build up the power in his arms and legs the past year. Lynch's father teaches African-American studies at the University of Maryland-Baltimore County. His mother is an economic analyst.

Some Washington Post features on Jair Lynch:

Kevin McMahon, Georgetown
Track and field

McMahon graduated magna cum laude from Georgetown last year with a double major in English and fine arts. He also throws the hammer. McMahon, 24, learned about the hammer throw as a boy at a grass-roots field events program in Los Gatos, Calif. That program was directed by Ed Burke, a four-time Olympian in the hammer and the man who carried the U.S. flag at the 1984 Opening Ceremonies in Los Angeles. When McMahon came to Georgetown, he met Harold Connolly, the 1956 Olympic champion, who volunteered to coach him. At the U.S. Olympic trials, McMahon finished third to make the Olympic team.

Washington Post feature on Kevin McMahon:
For Georgetown's McMahon, It's Hammer Time, May 31, 1995

Karen and David O'Connor, The Plains

The three-day event is the sport's version of a triathlon. True to its name, the riders compete in three different types of events on three successive days, and Atlanta's oppressive heat will make it grueling for both horse and rider. Karen O'Connor will have to do it once for the U.S. team. Her husband, David-who will represent the U.S. in both the team and individual competitions-will have to do it twice. David, who became just the third rider in history to win the U.S. equestrian team three-day event in both the spring and fall competitions last year, will be competing in his third Olympics. Karen, a three-time lady rider of the year honoree and the 1993 U.S. Olympic Committee female equestrian athlete of the year, will be in her second Olympics.

Washington Post feature on the O'Connors:
To Love, Honor and Compete: Married Couple Makes Riding Team, July 4, 1996

Clint Peay, Columbia

The 22-year-old defender attended Oakland Mills High School and the University of Virginia, where he helped the Cavaliers win four NCAA titles. Peay, who played in the 1995 Pan American Games and World University Games, is a member of Major League Soccer's D.C. United. He was captain of the under-20 national team in 1993 and is a likely starter.

Brandon Pollard, University of Virginia

Pollard, 22, was first-team all-American his junior and senior seasons and second-team as a sophomore. The defender won three NCAA titles with the Cavaliers and now plays for Dallas of MLS. He often marks the opponent's top offensive threat, and he's a probable starter in the Games.

Meredith Rainey, Silver Spring
Track and field

Rainey, who lives in Maryland with her new husband, track star Andrew Valmon, has been on the verge of greatness for several years. The Harvard graduate made it to the 1991 world championships and 1992 Olympic Games-but failed to get out of her heats in the 800 meters. She did make the final of the 1993 and 1995 world championships, finishing fifth both times. She won the U.S. trials with the best time in the world this year, and is a threat to win a medal. Rainey wrote her Harvard senior thesis on "Settlement Houses: A Vehicle for Community Empowerment," and helped found The Avenue, an organization designed to aid disadvantaged youth.

Claudio Reyna, University of Virginia

The midfielder, who turns 23 Saturday, won three NCAA titles with the Cavaliers before skipping his senior year to join the 1994 World Cup squad and then Bayer Leverkusen in the German League. One of three overage players on the Olympic squad, he's a probable starter.

Washington Post feature on Claudio Reyna:
A Soccer Star for Today, Tomorrow, June 11, 1996

Jeff Rouse, Stafford, Va.

Rouse, 26, not only holds the world record in the 100-meter backstroke, but he also has become a leader out of the pool in the fight against performance-enhancing drugs. Voted team captain by his 1996 Olympic teammates, Rouse is hoping to avenge a narrow defeat in Barcelona in the 100 back. He did, however, win a gold medal in 1992 as part of the world-record setting U.S. 4x100-meter medley relay team. Rouse is a seven-time national champion who owns six international titles. Of the top 10 times in the history of the 100 backstroke, Rouse holds seven of them.

Washington Post features on Jeff Rouse:

Brad Schumacher, Bowie

Schumacher, 26, is one of the nation's most versatile swimmers, which explains why he qualified for the Olympic team in both the 400-meter and 800-meter freestyle relays. At Pacific, he earned NCAA all-America or honorable mention all-America in both swimming and water polo as a sophomore and junior. The previous NCAA athlete to do that was Matt Biondi. When Schumacher red-shirted at Pacific for the 1995-96 season to train for the Olympics in swimming, five water polo teammates red-shirted as well so they could compete with him during the 1996-97 collegiate season.

Melissa Schwen, Georgetown

Schwen, 23, of Bloomington, Ind., rows in women's pair without coxswain. She graduated from Georgetown's School of Foreign Service in 1994 and was captain of the crew team. She won the silver medal at the 1995 world championships in women's pair without coxswain, then spent five months training in Australia for the Olympic trials with partner Karen Kraft.

Damian Silvera, University of Virginia

The 21-year-old midfielder plays for New York/New Jersey of MLS. A second-team all-American last year, he holds the school record for career assists (44), games played (98) and starts (97). His excellent ball-control and passing abilities make him a possible starter in the Olympics.

Dawn Staley, University of Virginia
Dawn Staley
Staley, a two-time Naismith player of the year, led the Cavaliers to three consecutive Final Fours and a 110-21 record during her college days (1989-92). The 5-6 guard from Philadelphia is one of three U.S. women's team players-Sheryl Swoopes and Lisa Leslie are the others-to have signed promotional contracts with Nike. The trio appears in a Spike Lee-directed Nike commercial playing a pickup game against three men.

Washington Post feature on Dawn Staley:
Staley Quietly Emerges as Nation's Best Player, March 28, 1991

Todd Sweeris, Rockville
Table tennis

Last June, Sweeris, 22, switched from using a smooth-surfaced paddle on his backhand side to using a paddle with nubs on it. By July, the change paid dividends-Sweeris, who had been stuck in a two-year slump, won the U.S. Olympic Festival. He went on to become one of three men to qualify for the Olympics in February. He'll be a senior at the University of Maryland this fall.

Washington Post feature on Todd Sweeris:
A Life's Work: Just Follow the Bouncing Ball , April 26, 1991

Catherine Symon, Georgetown University

Symon, 24, of Chattanooga, rows quadruple sculls. She graduated in 1993 from Georgetown with a degree in philosophy. Symon, who was born in Kingston, Jamaica, took a silver medal in quadruple sculls at the 1995 Pan Am Games and a gold medal in quadruple sculls and a bronze in double sculls at the 1994 U.S. nationals.

Andrea Thies, Potomac Boat Club

Thies, 28, of Freeport, N.Y., rows quadruple sculls. She has taught rowing to inner-city children and blind adults in Washington. She was an alternate at the 1992 Games, was second in double sculls at the 1995 Pan Am Games and won the 1993 and 1995 U.S. national championships in double sculls. She graduated from Cornell in 1989 with a degree in natural resources.

Lynda Tolbert-Goode, Washington
Track and field

Tolbert-Goode has a resume to rival nearly any American track star in the 1990s, but she still is hurdling in the shadow of her top rival, Gail Devers. Tolbert-Goode, 28, is a two-time NCAA champion from Arizona State. She finished third at the 1992 Olympic trials and fourth in Barcelona in the 100-meter hurdles. She won the national championships in 1993, and a bronze medal at the world championships that year. After dropping back the past two years because of injury, she ran well at the U.S. trials to qualify for her second Olympic team.

Washington Post feature on Lynda Tolbert-Goode:
Ballou Grad Enjoys Her Day in the Sun, June 23, 1996

Melanie Valerio, University of Virginia

The 27-year-old finished fourth in the 100-meter freestyle, qualifying for the Games in the 400 freestyle relay. A native of Ohio, Valerio was a member of the 1994 world championship team and swam on the gold medal-winning relays (400 free and 800 free) at the Pan Pacific Championships. Valerio graduated from Virginia in 1991.

Billy Walsh, University of Virginia

Walsh, 20, is the only member of the U.S. squad still in college. The defensive midfielder has 21 goals and 14 assists in two seasons with the Cavaliers, and will be a reserve on the Olympic team.

Staci Wilson, Herndon

The 20-year-old has played two seasons at the University of North Carolina. Small (5-2, 115 pounds), but quick and tenacious, Wilson was a finalist for the 1995 Missouri Athletic Club player of the year award. A two-time high school all-American at Jefferson, Wilson played eight years for the Reston United club team, winning five state titles. She'll be a reserve at the Games.

A.J. Wood, Rockville

Wood, 22, attended Georgetown Prep and the University of Virginia, where he won four NCAA titles and finished second in career goals (56) and points (128). He now plays for New York/New Jersey of MLS. A hard worker, strong in the air at 6-2, 190 pounds, he was the leading scorer on the Olympic squad the past two years and is a likely starter.

Washington Post feature on A.J. Wood:
To Wood, Relaxation Is the Goal, Nov. 14, 1991

Peter Wright, University of Virginia

Wright, 23, finished second in the 1,500-meter freestyle at the U.S. trials. The 1995 Virginia graduate is the seventh-fastest American ever in the 800 free, 11th fastest ever in the 400 free and a four-time U.S. champion.

Compiled by J.A. Adande, Christine Brennan, Steven Goff, Brad Parks and Angus Phillips.

© Copyright 1996 The Washington Post

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