8 Great Olympians from Michigan

The 2014 Winter Olympics are almost underway. Held in Sochi, Russia, this year’s events will again feature some of the top athletes from around the world. Since the modern Olympics began in 1896, some of the best champions have come from right here in Michigan. Here are 8 of the best Michigan-born Olympians. Don’t forget to watch the games from your manufactured home from February 7-23.

Jim Abbott

Sport: Baseball City: Flint Description: A star left-handed pitcher, Jim Abbott won a Gold Medal during the 1988 Olympics. He was one of the best pitchers of his era – even throwing a non-hitter with the New York Yankees in 1993 – despite the fact he was born without a right hand!

Elizabeth Armstrong

Sport: Water Polo City: Ann Arbor Description: Armstrong won a Gold Medal in 2012 as goalkeeper of the U.S. water polo team. The University of Michigan graduate also won a Silver Medal in 2009. She was named best female water polo player in 2010 by FINA Aquatics World Magazine.

Cynthia Goyette

Sport: Soccer City: Detroit Description: Representing the United States at just 18 years old, Goyette won the 1964 Gold Medal for her contributions in the 4×100 meter medley. She swam the breaststroke leg of the relay.

Magic Johnson

Sport: Basketball City: Lansing Description: Considered one of the top five basketball players ever, Magic Johnson was the catalyst of the 1992 “Dream Team,” which went 8-0 en route to a Gold Medal. He won 5 NBA championships for good measure.

Alexei Lalas

Sport: Soccer City: Birmingham Description: Lalas played on the U.S. Olympics teams in both 1992 and 1996. Considered one of the best soccer players ever, Lalas was named U.S. Soccer Athlete of the Year in 1995.

Floyd Mayweather

Sport: Boxing City: Grand Rapids Description: Before Mayweather became arguably the biggest name in boxing, he was a participant in the 1996 U.S. Olympics. In fact, he was the first U.S. Olympian that year to win a world title.

Carly Piper

Sport: Swimming City: Grosse Pointe Description: In 2004, Piper won the Gold Medal in the 4×200-meter freestyle relay with teammates Natalie Coughlin, Kaitlin Sandeno and Dana Vollmer. On December 20, 2004 it was declared “Carly Piper Day” in Grosse Pointe for her accolades.

Serena Williams

Sport: Tennis City: Saginaw Description: Arguably the greatest female tennis player ever, Serena and her sister, Venus, won the gold medal in doubles in 2012. Venus and Serena are among the most dominant sibling duos in history, regardless of sport. While Serena was born in Michigan, Venus was born in California where both sisters were raised.

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