The 2012 Olympics marks the first time in history that Team USA features more female athletes and Midwestern Olympians are proving that statistic to be true. Of the 75 Olympians from Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Michigan and Minnesota, 39 ladies rein in the team over 26 guys.
Kara Patterson competes in the women's javelin qualifying round at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials Friday, June 29, 2012, in Eugene, Ore. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
The 2012 Olympics marks the first time in history that Team USA features more female athletes and Midwestern Olympians are proving that statistic to be true. Of the 75 Olympians from Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Michigan and Minnesota, 38 ladies rein in the team over 26 guys. Pictured first is Chicago diver Christina Loukas, who is headed for her second Olympic appearance. Click to see more the local ladies and their girl power. (Tia Brooks of Michigan and Susie Scanlan of Minnesota not pictured)
Kara Patterson is a record-holding American javelin thrower. Patterson, who previously attended Purdue University, competed in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. She earned her spot on the 2012 Olympic team after placing in the track and field event's Olympic trials June 21- July 1.
Minnesota runner Kara Goucher competed in the Beijing Olympics before taking time off in 2010 to give birth to her son. She returned to the running world in 2011 and now the thirty-something is on her way to London.
Amy LePeilbet of Crystal Lake qualified for her first Olympic Games as a defender on the U.S. Women's Soccer team. An injury kept LePeilbet out of the previous FIFA World Cup, but has made her presence known in her promising comeback over the last two years.
Kelci Bryant was a member of the 2008 US Olympic Dive Team where she placed fourth in the synchronized three-meter. The Springfield-born athlete won her ticket to London with partner Abby Johnston June 21 in the Diving Olympic Trials.
Gymnast Anna Li is making a comeback. The college graduate began her return to elite status after a few months off. Li, of Aurora, earned a spot on the 2012 Olympic team as an alternate.
Amber Campbell, former Big South Women's Track Athlete of the Year, competes in the women's hammer throw. The Indianapolis-born athlete is scheduled to compete in the track and field Olympic Games.
At 33, Gia Lewis-Smallwood, a former University of Illinois track athlete, is making her first appearance at the London Olympics. She has spent the last 11 years training to achieve her Olympic goal and is set to compete in the discus throw during the upcoming Track and Field events.
Track and field athlete Dawn Harper competes in the 100-meter hurdles and took home the gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The Illinois native will return to the Olympics in the track and field Olympic Games.
Sylvia Fowles, Chicago Sky center, makes her return to the Olympics after taking the gold with the women's team at the 2008 Beijing Games. The 6-foot-6 player dubbed "Baby Shaq" is tied as the tallest player on her team.
Indiana Fever forward Tamika Catchings received her ticket to London with the Women's Basketball team, sending her to the Olympic Games for the third year. Catchings, named 2002 WNBA Rookie of the Year, attended Adlai Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire before moving to Texas.
Melissa Seidemann (L), born in Hoffman Estates, will travel to the Olympics for the first time as she joins Team USA's Water Polo team.
Swin Cash of the Chicago Sky team was on the 2004 Olympic Team that took home a gold medal. Although a back injury short-circuited her chance for the 2008 team, she made a promising comeback for the 2012 Olympic Games.
Kristin Hedstrom (R), a Boston native who attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison, earned her ticket to London June 3 with partner Julie Nichols after finishing fourth at the World Rowing Cup. The Hedstrom-Nichols duo would have had to return to a trial in June to fight for a place in the Olympics if they did not beat at least two other crews in the competition. Fortunately, their fourth-place finish out of 11 teams ensured them a spot on the Olympic roster.
Gwen Jorgensen of Waukesha, Wis. was the first U.S. athlete to qualify for the 2012 London Olympics. She joined Team USA's Triathlon team Aug. 6, 2011 and is ranked as the No. 2 American in the 2012 World Triathlon series.
Megan Kalmoe (back) and her partner Ellen Tomek won their Olympic ticket after the women's double sculls. The pair raced together in the 2008 Olympics and made it to the final double sculls, but placed fifth. Now Kalmoe is back and ready to show what the last four years have taught her.
Shannon Boxx (right) will make her third appearance at the Olympics on the 2012 Women's National Soccer Team. Boxx, a University of Notre Dame alum, was named to the All-Big East Team for three years straight and brought the Fighting Irish to win their first NCAA Women's Soccer Championship.
Morgan Uceny (front left) traded her basketball shorts for running gear after high school and competed in the 2008 Olympic trials. She will compete in the 2012 Olympic Games after her second attempt in the track and field Olympic trials earned her a slot on the USA team.
Molly Huddle (front) is a long-distance track runner. She currently holds the American record in the 5,000 meter run. The former University of Notre Dame runner is scheduled to compete in the 2012 Olympic Games after qualifying at the track and field Olympic trials.
Kayla Bashore-Smedley is a veteran of Team USA's field hockey roster. The Indiana University alum became the first field hockey player from Indiana to be named on the U.S. National team when she qualified for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Jordyn Weiber of DeWitt, Mich. is competing for her first shot at the Olympics. The young star has shown promising success after taking first at the 2011 Visa Championships and earning her slot on the Olympic team during the gymnastic trials.
Minnesota Lynx player Maya Moore is no stranger to winning. Having only lost 16 times in just under 10 years, the basketball player has proven herself on the court. The Olympic team member will be part of an elite group of basketball athletes if she wins the gold, making her just one of seven having won in college championships, WNBA, FIBA world championship and the Olympics.
Desiree Davila, is a marathon runner in the Track and Field event. She competed in the 2008 Olympic trials, but came in 13th. In 2011, however, she managed to come in second place at the Boston Marathon, an achievement that brought fame to her running. She won her slot on the Track and Field Olympic team after she was named runner-up in the marathon event at the Olympic Trials.
Lauren Cheney was a member of the women's team that took the gold at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and she plans on doing it again. The 24-year-old veteran from Indianapolis, Ind., will fight with her teammates at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Betsey Armstrong, of Ann Arbor, Mich., qualified for the Olympic water polo team in the 2011 World League Super Final. She has proven herself an asset on the team, ensuring their qualification into the Olympic Games.
Sarah Zelenka (R), of Itasca, Ill., took home the gold in the eight and the four in women's rowing at the 2010 World Cup in Lucerne, Switzerland. She qualified for her ticket to London in the Olympic Trials for rowing Thursday, June 15.
LA Sparks forward Candace Parker makes her second trip to the Olympics competing with the Women's Basketball team. The Naperville native was part of the 2008 women's team that took the gold at the Beijing Olympics.
Lindsay Whalen, a Hutchinson, Minn. native and Minnesota Lynx basketball player, was first taken into consideration for the 2012 Olympic team in the fall of 2009. She has since joined 20 other players on Team USA's basketball team for the London Games.
Former Olympian Allison Schmitt won the bronze medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Her first place finish in the women's 200-meter freestyle at the swimming Olympic trials marked her return to the London Games.
Michigan runner Geena Gall (green) finished second in the women's 800-meter at the track and field Olympic trials, coming up from sixth place in the final 100-meters of the race. The Nike racer's second-place finish earned her an Olympic berth.
Rachel Bootsma missed the mark at the 2008 Olympic trials but game back with a fierce stroke in the 2012 trials. She qualified for her slot on Team USA in the 100-meter backstroke.
Ali Bernard, of Minnesota, competed in the 2008 Beijing Olympics where she took fifth place. For the last two Olympic trials Bernard has ranked first in the women's freestyle wrestling, earning her spot on the 2012 Olympic team.
Amanda Smock, a triple jumper in the track and field events, is the only American to head to London in the triple jump event. Smock failed to make the 2008 team but after her qualification at the trials will be celebrating her 30th birthday at the Opening Ceremonies on July 27.
Heather Koehl was a top competitor for the U.S. Women's Archery Team. She was just shy of making the list for the USA Team at the Olympic Games but was named as an alternate.
Lori Lindsey (L), of Indianapolis, has played for the national soccer team for years but her career took off in 2010. The central midfielder led the US with seven assists despite playing less than half the minutes available. Lindsey was selected as a replacement player for the women's team at the 2012 Olympic Games.