A native of Basking Ridge, New Jersey, 20 year old Tobin Heath was the youngest player on the United States Gold Medal Soccer Team. She was also one of only two college players to be named to the roster. Heath was also the third youngest player to make the World Championship Roster. At Ridge High School she was A Parade All American three years on a row. Her junior year she was named Gatorade Player of the Year. In her senior year of high school Tobin trained with the boy soccer team
Heath is currently a junior at University of North Carolina where she is a rising star on the team. Last year, despite having an ankle injury, she was a top ranked player.
The Olympics marked her first international appearance.
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Pitcher Bobby Lanigan spent many years playing and practicing baseball on Staten Island. He went on to Adelphi University where he in 2006 he was named East Coast Rookie of the Year. In 2007, he set a team high of 94 strikeouts. It was no surprise to anyone that knows Lanigan when he became the first Adelphi player in fifteen years to be part of the MLB draft this year. Lanigan was the 15th pick in the third round of the draft by the Minnesota Twins.
At Adelphi, Langian also became the school's all-time leader in strikeouts with 232, fourth in career ERA (2.51) and holds the first and third spots in single season strikeouts
Lanigan played two years varsity baseball for Moore Catholic High School. He was named Captain of the team senior year and also played for the All-Staten Island Team his last two years of High School.
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It is truly amazing that Fencer Keeth Smart, a Brooklyn native, even qualified for the Beijing Olympics. Earlier this year he discovered he had contracted a rare blood disease. He spent two weeks in the ICU as well as took off a full two months of training. And then in May, while he was recovering, his mother passed away. (Smart lost his father several years ago.) But even with these enormous obstacles, Smart plunged himself into training and went to Beijing ready to compete. And compete he did, winning a Silver Medal for himself.
Smart has also competed in the Sydney and Athens Games. He has been a member of every World Championship team since 1997. He holds nine World Cup medals and while in college at St. Johns he was a two year NCAA champion
Smart attended Brooklyn Tech High School. His sister, Erinn, also a fencer, won a silver medal in this year's game as well. Smart and his sister started fencing at the Peter Westbrook Foundation, a non-profit group founded to support inner-city kids through fencing. Smart, also works full-time as a Finance Specialist at Verizon.
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He has already won Gold. That's right. Irvington New Jersey's very own Cullen Jones a gold medal in the 4x100m freestyle relay in a world record time of 3:08.24 at this year's Beijing Olympics. Jones was one of three African-American male swimmers every to compete at the Olympic Games.
24 year old Jones started swimming after he nearly drowned as a child. After that experience, he was enrolled in swimming lessons where he became hooked on the sport. He burst on the scene by winning the 50 meter freestyle at the Pan Pacific games in 2006 setting a world record at the same time. He caught the eye of Nike has since signed with them and gone pro.
Jones was born in the Bronx and attended St. Benedict's Prep in Newark. He trains at the Center of Excellence at Mecklenburg Aquatic Club in North Carolina.
Jones and his girlfriend, African American swimmer Maritza Correia are making a documentary film on their rise as swimmers and those African Americans that paved the way for them. Additionally, he and Correia are working on setting up a program to provide scholarships to deserving kids. Additionally, Jones is the USA Swim Team's "poster child" for their "Make a Splash Program" that aims to teach inner-city kids how to swim.
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Taraje Williams-Murray Is a four time National Judo Champion and a two time Olympian. He just returned back to NY after competing at the Beijing Olympics. Before the this year's Olympics, Williams-Murray had won four national championships. He won Bronze at the 2008 Pan American Championships. In 2004 he was the youngest member of the US judo team that competed in Athens
Williams-Murray started judo at the age eight after his cousin introduced it to him. Growing up in the South Bronx, he knew it was an unusual sport for a kid from his neighborhood to be involved in. But he excelled, and being the fourth oldest of six kids, he inspired all of his siblings to get involved with the sport. Judo became a way of keeping Williams-Murray off the streets, and focused on success
He has a BS in computer science from LIU, and is pursuing his Master's Degree in banking and finance at Boston University. He is also an expert blogger, and he provides eloquent instruction on the sport of judo on video produced especially for NBCOlympics.com
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