- Nathan Adrian, swimming: The Bremerton native is 6 feet 6, with Hollywood good looks and talent. Adrian’s moment alone on the Olympic stage came in the 100-meter freestyle, a signature event that hadn’t seen an American strike gold for 24 years. He did it in dramatic style, winning by one-hundredth of a second, and also earned gold and silver in relays.
- Hope Solo, soccer: The former Washington goalkeeper from Richland has stirred up controversy since she stopped doing the salsa on “Dancing with the Stars,” but she stopped talking and tweeting long enough in London to help the U.S. women earn gold. Her remarkable play late in Saturday’s final against Japan literally saved gold for a team that included four women with Seattle ties and avenged last year’s World Cup loss.
- Sue Bird, basketball: While LeBron and Kobe were having their golden moment, the Storm point guard orchestrated an impressive run through the women’s tournament. In her third Olympics, Bird won her third gold medal and made it five straight for America. She scored only when necessary, but displayed the floor leadership and calm demeanor that has won two WNBA titles for Seattle.
- Mary Whipple, rowing: She’s the smallest person in the U.S. women’s eight, but the former Washington rower won her third straight medal and her second gold in a row. The 5-foot-3, 106-pound coxswain is the voice of the most powerful women’s crew in the world. She was one of 11 rowers in London with UW connections, confirming Seattle as an epicenter of the sport.
- Jennie Reed, cycling: All the 34-year-old from Kirkland did was come out of retirement to transform herself from a sprinter to a cyclist with enough endurance to succeed in team pursuit. Talked into coming back by a teammate, she earned a silver medal.
- Courtney Thompson, volleyball: The Kent native was a longshot to even make the U.S. women’s team, but make it she did. The setter replaced injured starter Lindsey Berg during a run to the finals. Anyone who saw her lead Washington to a national championship couldn’t have been surprised.
- Marti Malloy, judo: The 26-year-old from Oak Harbor rebounded from a disappointing 125.7-pound semifinal loss to win her bronze-medal match in the most dramatic way possible — a throw that put her on the podium.