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16 Things You Probably Didn't Know about Some of Your Favorite Athletes

By Lisa Costantini | July 26, 2012, 11 p.m. (ET)

Which athlete accidentally made a 6-year-old cry? What is the age of the youngest U.S. athlete on the 2012 Olympic Team? How many sets of twins are competing in the 2012 Games? Think you know? Read on to see 16 interesting facts that may surprise you about some of your favorite U.S. athletes.

1. Were you aware that Team USA basketball players (and University of Connecticut alums) Maya Moore and Diana Taurasi share the same birthday? June 11.

2. Did you know that when wrestler Sam Hazewinkel was out shopping for a new bag to take to London he accidentally set off the alarms?

3. Did you know that now that weightlifter Holley Mangold has earned a spot in London she is getting more attention? Some of it she says is coming from guys she calls “Creepy McCreepersons.” “I don’t know if they’re obsessed with strong women, or what it is, but I’ve gotten some strange offers.”

4. Can you believe the youngest Olympian on the 2012 team is only 15-years-old? Swimmer Katie Ledecky.

5. Did you know badminton athlete Tony Gunawan accidentally made a 6-year-old girl cry? He was trying to teach her about the sport, but didn’t have a grasp on the English language to properly explain himself and his young student got upset.

6. Would you believe Khatuna Lorig (archery) is the only athlete to have represented three different countries in the Olympics? In 1992 she competed on behalf of the United Soviet team. In 1996 and 2000 she competed for her home country of Georgia. And in 2008 she represented the United States in the Beijing Games.

7. Did you know that Lorig is also one of seven U.S. athletes competing in their fifth Games? In U.S. history only 16 other athletes have ever competed in five Olympic Games.

8. Track & field runner Mebrahtom Keflezighi might be representing Team USA, but he was actually born one of 11 kids in a small village in Eritrea that had no electricity.

9. Did you know gymnast Danell Leyva wants to use “gymnastics to segue into entertainment” because he says he does what he does for “the crowd?”

10. Did you know when it comes to fireworks wrestler Jake Varner prefers the smaller stuff? “I just like snakes and sparklers,” he says.

11. Can you believe that Team USA trampoline competitor Steven Gluckstein says the worst part about being an athlete is “icing?” Brrr.

12. Did you know the entire U.S. women’s Olympic water polo team is from or went to school in California, except Ann Arbor, Michigan native Betsey Armstrong?

13. When Chas Betts is not wrestling he is doing motion design video work. Check out the short clip he produced, which introduces the 2012 Greco-Roman Olympic team.

14. Did you know that on top of the many siblings that are competing in the 2012 summer Games for Team USA there are also two sets of twins? Tennis players Bob and Mike Bryan, and rowers Grant and Ross James.

15. Can you believe the oldest U.S. Olympian is 54-year-old equestrian athlete Karen O’Connor?

16. Did you know how it started that track & field athlete Jeremy Wariner would wear sunglasses during competition? He explains: “Me and my teammate were about to run the 4x400 relay, and it was at night, and we thought it would be fun to wear our glasses for the race. When I put them on I was more focused than I was without them. So ever since then I just kept wearing them. With the glasses you don’t see a lot of things — you just see straight in front of you, and kind of to the sides. I was focused on my lane. I was focused on my race, and not what everyone else was doing.”


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