Pulse: Chatter: Sports: Games Plan

When it comes to breeding Olympic athletes, Pennsylvania may not hold a candle (torch?) to such sporty states as California and Colorado, but you’ll be able to catch a handful of locals in action when the Games take over your TV next month.* Here, a who’s who of our own Beijing-bound, so you can root for the home team.

Brendan Hansen
Sport:
Swimming
Hometown: Havertown
Age: 26
Forte: 100m and 200m breaststroke
Why to watch: The world record-breaker and three-time Olympic medalist will likely see (almost) as much podium time as water wonder Michael Phelps. Plus: abs.

Kate Barber
Sport:
Field hockey
Hometown: West Chester
Age: 32
Forte: Everything. Barber holds both captain and Athlete of the Year titles.
Why to watch: The team — largely (and oddly) PA-based — didn’t qualify the past two Olympics. Now they’re finally there — and they’re hungry.

Kobe Bryant
Sport: Basketball
Hometown: Philadelphia
Age: 29
Forte: He shoots. And scores. A lot.
Why to watch: The Lakers superstar and league MVP will be the team’s go-to guard for cleaning up the ’04 Olympic squad’s bronze bomb.

Carli Lloyd
Sport:
Soccer
Hometown: Delran
Age: 26
Forte: Sick foot skills and rocket shots
Why to watch: This Rutgers midfield standout-turned-national team starter will likely net some key goals in defending the team’s ’04 gold.

Jamie Beyerle
Sport:
Rifle/pistol
Hometown: Lebanon
Age: 24
Forte: Her 50m 3-position rifle
Why to watch: Finally. Shooting stats Philly can actually brag about.

*NBC will air 1,200 hours of live coverage, but for more obscure sports (i.e., shooting), you’ll want to check Nbcolympics.com.
And: Beijing is 12 hours ahead of Philly, so you may be able to catch some Games — live ­— with breakfast.