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12 Olympians named after actual Olympians

Posted By GABRIELLE LEVY, UPI.com   |   Aug. 9, 2012 at 12:57 PM   |   Comments

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Aug. 9 (UPI) -- We give competitors in the Olympics godlike status out of awe for their remarkable athletic feats. But the following Olympians take it one step farther, sharing the names of the ancient Olympians (or demigods or Titans) of Greek mythology.

1. Venus Williams (USA, tennis)/ Venus, goddess of love

Venus is the Roman name for the goddess Aphrodite, the goddess of love, beauty and desire.

Venus Williams and her younger sister Serena have been among the top female tennis players in the world for more than a decade, and won gold in doubles in London.

2. Apolo Ohno (USA, speed skating)/ Apollo, god of the sun

Apollo is the god of sun, music, knowledge and more.

Apolo Ohno is the most decorated American Winter Olympian of all time, winning eight medals in short-track speed skating over three games.

3. Aries Merritt (USA, track and field)/ Ares, god of war

Ares is the god of war and violence, whose Roman name is Mars.

Aries Merritt is a first-time Olympian in London, winning gold with a personal best in the men's 110 m hurdles.

4 Diana Taurasi (USA, basketball) and 5. Diana Lopez (USA, taekwondo)/ Diana, goddess of the hunt

Diana is the Roman name for Artemis, the goddess of the hunt, virginity, childbirth and archery.

Diana Taurasi is playing on the heavily-favored women's basketball team for the third straight Olympics. Diana Lopez won bronze in the featherweight division of taekwondo in Beijing and is still in the hunt for a medal in London.

6. Eros Correa (USA, boxing)/ Eros, god of love

Eros is the god of love, more famously known by his Roman name, Cupid.

Eros Correa won Olympic trials, but got sick and won't compete in London.

7. Bence Demeter (Hungary, modern pentahlon) /Demeter, goddess of fertility

Demeter is the goddess of fertility and the seasons.

Bence Demeter of Hungary will compete in the men's modern pentathlon, which includes fencing, swimming, riding and the combined run/shoot.

8. Iris Wang (USA, badminton)/ Iris, personification of the rainbow

Iris is a goddess of the sea and sky, the personification of the rainbow a messenger of the gods.

Iris Wang doubles with her older sister Rena in badminton doubles.

9. Dion Dreesens (Netherlands, swimming)/ Dione, mother of the gods

Dione is one of the Oceanids, a Titaness who is the daughter of Atlas and the mother of Aphrodite.

Dion Dreesens swam for the Netherlands in the men's 200m freestyle.

Phoebe Wright. (via USA Track and Field)

10 Phoebe Wright (USA, track and field) and 11. Phoebe Stanley (Australia, rowing)/ Phoebe, one of the original titans

Phoebe is often associated with the moon, and is the grandmother of Apollo and Artemis.

Phoebe Wright came within .26 seconds of making the London games in the women's 800m, and will try for a spot on the team in Rio. Phoebe Stanley is a member of the women's rowing eights for Australia, who finished in sixth place in the finals.

12. Celine Goberville (France, shooting) and Celine van Gerner (Netherlands, gymnastics)/ Selene, titaness, personification of the moon

Selene is the goddess of the moon, known more commonly by her Roman name, Luna.

Celine Goberville, of France, won silver in the women's 10m air pistol. Celine van Gerner, of the Netherlands, finished twelfth in the women's all-around gymnastics final.

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