Cal Olympian Alysia Montaño

Expect to see a flower on the track while watching the women’s 800-meter Olympic race this summer – it’ll be tucked in the hair of Cal alum Alysia Montaño, who wears one in every race to solidify the fact that girls rock. The theater and performing arts graduate qualified to make her Olympic debut with a winning time of 1 minute, 59.08 seconds in the 800-meter trials.

Despite leaving the 2008 Olympic trials with a foot injury, Montaño is finding success around every corner in 2012. The 26-year-old recorded this year’s No. 2 best time in the world at the Prefontaine Classic in June, and she is sure to hold her own against competitors in London. There haven’t been any U.S. medals in the women’s 800-meter race since 1988, and Montaño may just be the one to turn that around.

Sport: Track & field

Event: 800-meter race

Olympic history: First-time Olympian

Career highlights:

-2011 – ranked No. 1 in the U.S.in the 800-meter

-Ran the 800-meter race in 1:57.34 in 2010 – the fifth-fastest in U.S.history and her personal best

-2010 – world’s best performance of the year in women’s 800-meter

-800-meter bronze medalist at the 2010 World Indoor Championships

Biggest competition: Montaño’s Prefontaine time was second in the world only behind that of Kenya’s Pamela Jelimo, who will be a top competitor in London. Fantu Magiso of Ethiopia is also set to be a front-runner in the race for gold, and Caster Semenya of South Africa and Russia’s Mariya Savinova are predicted to be at the front of the pack as well.

When to watch: Round one will be televised on NBC on Wednesday, August 8 at 10:30 a.m. If Montaño advances, she will move on to the semi-finals, shown Thursday, August 9 at 12 p.m. on NBC. Finals will be shown Saturday, August 11 at 8 p.m.

She Tweeted: “I don’t know what today’s workout is, but I do know it’s going to hurt. I’m excited to get better, faster & stronger.” @Alysia800

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