The 2012 Olympic Games begin with Friday's opening ceremony and saying California will be well-represented is an understatement.
The Golden State is sending the largest percentage of athletes -- almost one-fourth of the entire USA contingent -- to the 2012 Olympic Games, reports NBC. Our state, which lays claim to 128 Olympians this year, is also sending the complete badminton team, as well as 24 of the 26 water polo players.
On the California roster are Long Beach's Misty May-Treanor, who ranks first in the nation for beach volleyball, as well as Landon Donovan, who has been called the second-greatest American soccer player of all time. Unfamiliar with these names? Soon you won't be.
Check out our slideshow below to get up close and personal with some of California's star Olympians, who vary from career firefighters to normal 16-year-olds. Whether they're professing their love for journalism or avowing that they'll always swim -- these passionate Californians are sure to make you proud.
Be sure to visit the Team USA Olympics site for the complete list of California's impressive 128 Olympians.