Light flyweight - Rau’shee Warren, Cincinnati, Ohio – The youngest member of the U.S. team at only 17, the Cincinnati sophomore competed in the Junior Olympics only nine months prior to qualifying for the 2004 Olympic Games. Although Warren doesn’t have his driver’s license yet, the speedy and innately talented boxer dominated his division at the 2004 Olympic Team Trials and Box-offs and followed it up with a gold medal at the Americas Qualifier, his first-ever senior international competition. The high stakes of the Olympic Games don’t intimidate this confident teen as he looks for a second gold medal, this round in Athens .
Flyweight – Ron Siler, Cincinnati , Ohio – The oldest member of the U.S. squad and team captain is a 24-year-old father of four little boys. Being a father is very important to Siler, who was abandoned by his mother at the hospital after she gave birth to him. A phone call to Siler’s father gave him the opportunity to come pick up his son and the two have been together since. Siler has overcome many obstacles, spending time behind bars before turning his life around, but his talent is undeniable and he is one of the United States’ top medal hopes.
Lightweight – Vicente Escobedo, Woodland, Calif. – Earned his Olympic Team Trials spot at the last possible opportunity but he has been on a roll since, winning gold at the Western Trials, Olympic Team Trials, Olympic Box-offs and finally the Americas Qualifier. He is trained by his brother Jose while his father remains in Mexico . However, his father made a two-day bus trip to see his son win gold at the Americas Qualifier in Tijuana .
Light welterweight – Rock Allen, Philadelphia , Pa. – Allen was the last U.S. athlete to qualify for the Olympic Games, winning silver at the third and final qualifier in Rio de Janeiro , Brazil . He is trained by his father, Naazim Richardson, who also assists middleweight champion Bernard Hopkins. His twin brother Tiger, younger brother Bear and cousins Michael and Karl Dargan all also compete as boxers.
Welterweight – Vanes Martirosyan, Glendale , Calif. – Emerged from the welterweight chaos of the 2004 Olympic Team Trials and quickly proved he belonged, winning gold at the Americas Qualifier. Born in Armenia , the soon to be 18-year-old Martirosyan combines love of the sport with talent and work ethic. He maintains a close relationship with his father, who moved his family from Armenia but only after he lost a hand in a grenade accident. Despite his age and lack of experience, Martirosyan could surprise many people in Athens .
Middleweight – Andre Dirrell, Flint , Mich. – Known as one of the most purely talented athletes of the 2004 Olympic Team, Dirrell had a tremendous growth spurt, moving from 125 pounds to 165 pounds from 2001 to 2003. The 20-year-old credits the milk he drinks for his huge rise in size. Dirrell owns five different national championships at four different weight classes and his movement up in weight never hampered his speed. Trained by his grandfather, Leon Lawson, Dirrell has high hopes to bring home a gold medal.
Light heavyweight – Andre Ward, Oakland , Calif. – Currently on a winning streak that reaches back to 1998 and Ward’s early teens, the 20 year old is a married father of two young boys, Andre Jr. and Malachi. Ward boxes in memory of his father who passed away in the summer of 2002. Also known for his tremendous speed, even at light heavyweight, Ward is a technician and is often called a coach in the ring. Points don’t come easy when an opponent is facing this sharp light heavyweight and he hopes to maintain that trend in the Olympic Games.
Heavyweight – Devin Vargas, Toledo , Ohio – This heavyweight wins purely on heart and determination and as a 22-year-old father of a 17-month-old boy, Vargas, has a lot to box for. Vargas also coaches a pee-wee football team. He is trained by his father Ray, and his mother Robin serves as a USA Boxing official.
Super heavyweight – Jason Estrada, Providence , R.I. – Estrada is not only the first U.S. super heavyweight but also the first non-Cuban to win Pan Am Games gold, taking top honors in 2003. He hasn’t lost in the U.S. since 2000 and after last summer’s success hopes to continue in Greece . Estrada is trained by his father, Roland, who was a finalist for the 2003 United States Olympic Committee’s Volunteer Coach of the Year award.
Head coach Basheer Abdullah of Fort Carson, Colo., will be attending his second Olympics after working as a technical assistant in 2000 and will be joined by 2001 World Championships and 2003 Pan Am Games head coach Anthony Bradley of Philadelphia, Pa., and two-time Goodwill Games coach Joe Zanders of Long Beach, Calif. 1996 Olympic Games head coach Al Mitchell of Marquette, Mich., will serve as Abdullah’s technical assistant. USA Boxing Vice President Sandy Martinez-Pino of Albuquerque, N.M., is the Olympic Team Manager and will be one of the few if not only female boxing team managers in Athens.
Information provided by USOC Press Box