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Bay Area athletes well-represented at 2012 summer Olympics

Two Danville residents hold spots on womens water polo

Olympic fever is running high during the first few days of the 2012 Summer Games in London -- and local residents are gearing up for Bay Area gold at the dozens of sporting events.

Several Bay Area schools are known for their athletic prowess and this year is no exception as dozens of local athletes donned their home

country's uniform to walk through Olympic Stadium during the opening ceremony.

Many athletes from the Bay Area, including two from Danville, will be representing Team USA, and others born abroad and living here will represent their home country.

The youngest member her team, Monte Vista High School grad Maggie Steffens will be the defender for U.S. Olympic womens water polo. Steffens deferred her entrance to Stanford to train with the national team and posted six goals on the way to a gold medal and Olympic qualification at the 2011 Pan American Games.

Jessica Steffens, Maggie's sister, graduated from Stanford in 2009 and is another defender for USA Polo. The 25-year-old returned to the team in 2011 after not competing in 2010 following shoulder surgery.

Walnut Creek synchronized swimmer Mariya Koroleva, a Stanford communication major, will compete this year with her partner Mary Killman in a duet, despite the larger national team's miss at attending the 2012 Olympics.

The University of California at Berkeley, known for its Cal Golden Bears, has sent 45 Bears to the Summer Games.

Athletic officials tallied 38 Berkeley athletes, five coaches, one chief medical officer and one event manager in London for the 19 days of

competition, making the East Bay campus the most represented American public university at the games.

Nineteen of those athletes will be in the water, such as Olympian swimmer Natalie Coughlin, and water polo Olympic medalist Heather Petri.

Other sports the Bears will represent include basketball, rowing, soccer and track and field.

From the Peninsula, 27 Stanford students and alumni are in London this summer taking on competitors in sports ranging from gymnastics,

synchronized swimming, diving, rowing and more.

Stanford undergrad Kristina Vaculik will be chalking her hands during the gymnastics events, but will be at the Games with Canada.

Another Cardinal with Bay Area roots in Santa Rosa is Silas Stafford, competing in men's pair rowing.

The lesser-known sport of fencing will push a San Francisco teen into the spotlight at his first Olympic appearance.

Alexander Massialas, 18-year-old son of three-time Olympian Greg Massialas who coaches at Halberstadt Fencers' Club in San Francisco's Mission District, will compete for Team USA in the foil event.

The young Massialas will be an incoming freshman at Stanford University in the fall.

The West Coast Conference, which represents athletic teams Santa Clara University and Saint Mary's College in Moraga, proudly listed five

connections to the Olympic Games, including several men on the U.S. basketball team; a women's rowing coach and a men's volley team manager from Saint Mary's.

Santa Clara University alumna Brandi Chastain from US Women's soccer fame served as a women's soccer commentator at the games.

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