Californians will be a force to be reckoned with at the London Olympics this year -- and quite a few of them hail from this here Bay Area.
Of the 530 American athletes gearing up for the opening ceremony Friday, a whopping 128 of them call California home. In fact, Californians make up the entirety of the badminton team, and 24 of the 26 water polo players. And 71 one of them have Bay Area ties.
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"The Bay Area is the perfect combination of climate and outdoor space," Heather Petri, a water polo player from Orinda, told Mercury News. "It invigorates you to try sports. People flock here because of the opportunities."
Kerri Walsh of Santa Clara comprises half of what has been hailed "the greatest beach volleyball team of all time." She's a four-time Olympian with two gold medals to her name, and she has yet to lose a single match in the past two Olympics. Can she do it again?
Howard Bach, a San Francisco native, is one of the three members of the U.S. badminton team. Bach made history in 2005 for being part of the first U.S. badminton team to ever medal at a World Championships. In Beijing, he advanced further than any U.S. Badminton athlete in history.
Vallejo's Natalie Coughlin, a graduate of the U.C. Berkeley swim team, has won a medal in every Olympic race she has entered--a total of 11 medals in two Olympics. We can't wait to see her at it again.
Take a look at our favorite Golden State athletes in the slideshow below:
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