Two Northwest Houston athletes who competed in this year’s games are excited about the next four years, as they prepare to begin training for the 2016 Rio de Janiero summer Olympic tryouts.
Cy-Fair's Cammile Adams, 20, participated in the 200-meter butterfly qualifier in July, finishing third in her heat. Adams progressed to the finals—in which she finished fifth—along with teammate Kathleen Hersey.
Many athletes claim the butterfly is one of the more difficult strokes in swimming, as it requires faultless timing and rhythm. For Adams, who has been training in the water since she was 4, the stroke has become second nature.
“When you're [on the starting block] you really have to know why you're there and tell yourself you know what you're doing,” Adams said. “For the first 50 [meters], I definitely just try to stay relaxed. The middle 100 I just blank out and keep pushing, and the last 50 is just a race.”
Adams' competitive spirit led her to tryout for the 2008 Beijing Olympics when she was a 16-year-old enrolled at Cypress Woods High School. Although she was unable to qualify, Adams went on to win silver medals at both the 2011 and 2012 NCAA Championship in the 200-meter butterfly event before qualifying for the 2012 London Olympics.
Adams will continue to train alongside her twin sister, Ashley, under Texas A&M head coach Steve Bultman. She said she looks forward to returning to school this month and intends to train just as hard for the Rio de Janiero Olympics in 2016.
“I won't be changing a whole lot—I plan to keep going with the training I've been doing at [Texas A&M] as far as conditioning and just getting back into the rhythm,” Adams said.
Throughout Jonathan Horton's athletic career, he has achieved seven gold medals from national championships, three World Cup gold medals and silver and bronze medals from the 2008 Beijing Olympics, during which he stepped into a leadership role after both of the U.S. men's gymnastics team's leading athletes were injured. The team took home the bronze medal in 2008, and Horton was named USA Gymnastic's Men's Athlete of the Year.
In London, Horton helped the team qualify in the top spot with performances on the pommel horse, rings, parallel bars and horizontal bar. In the team finals, Team USA placed fifth with Horton competing in floor exercise, rings and vault. For the individual apparatus event, Horton placed sixth with a score of 15.466 on the horizontal bar behind teammate Danell Leyva.
Horton discovered his passion to become an Olympic gold medalist when he watched the women's gymnastic team, known as the Magnificent Seven, win the gold in Atlanta during the 1996 Olympics.
“I wanted to be able to stand on top of an awards podium and see my flag raised up and hear my national anthem,” Horton said. “At that point, I took myself to another level, and I've never really looked back.”
Horton first tried out for the Olympics in 2004 during his freshman year at the University of Oklahoma, where he trained under coach Mark Williams along with fellow gymnast and longtime friend, Chris Brooks.
“This was Jon's goal pretty much from the moment he set foot on the mat—to make the U.S. Olympic team,” Williams said. “His level of work and his dedication to practice was in the mindset of what it took to be an Olympian. He continued to impress us along the way. It's a process—almost every day in practice, Jon was the last one done.”
Horton and Brooks hope to use their athletic experience to travel and speak to students and young athletes around the world. Horton has announced his plans to begin training for the 2016 Rio de Janiero Olympics, according to his official Twitter account.