Best Female Athlete - 2012
Georganne Moline may have been the happiest fifth-place finisher in the history of the Summer Olympics. And why shouldn't the Thunderbird High School and University of Arizona hurdler have been beaming? In the finals of the 400-meter hurdles in the London Olympics, she finished in a personal-best time of 52.92 seconds. There wasn't much separating her from the gold medal winner of the event, Russia's Natalya Antyukh — whose time was 52.70 — except age: Antyukh is 31 and Moline is 22.The daughter of an elementary school teacher and single mom whose co-workers took up a collection to help pay for Moline's trip to London, Georganne is seven years younger than U.S. silver medal winner Lashinda Demus and the youngest competitor among all the hurdlers in the event's Olympic finals. Her finish in London was preceded by a ligament tear during her junior year at U of A that kept her out of the indoor college season — so it's impossible to say how good she might have been if that hadn't held her back. A Wildcat senior, Demus told TV cameras after the race, "I'm just getting started." She thanked the other "girls" in her event for teaching her so much. Following her run, experts called her the future of her sport.