first_imgAmong the thousands of words that could be used to describe the Olympic experience, Seth Kelsey sums it up with a handful:“The best thing about being an Olympian is that you always get to be one.”Special site keeps you up to date on Olympics happenings.Kelsey should know. The 30-year-old Brush Prairie native is headed to the Olympics for the third time, representing the United States in fencing at the London Games.He is one of two Clark County athletes competing in London — along with women’s javelin thrower Kara Patterson, a 26-year-old graduate of Skyview High School. And he again will be taking his place among the world’s elite athletes.According to sports-reference.com, 7,297 athletes have represented the United States at the Summer Olympics since the inception of the Games in 1896. Out of the millions upon millions of athletes who have aspired to the Olympics over the years, the number who have achieved that dream still could fit into a small arena — and each of those has had their life changed forever.SETH KELSEYo Who: Native of Brush Prairie.o Age: 30.o What: Fencer competing in his third Olympics.o Background: Graduate of Oregon Episcopal School and the Air Force Academy.o Residence: Colorado Springs, Colo.o Event: Individual men’s epee. Competition is Aug. 1.KARA PATTERSONo Who: Native of Vancouver.o Age: 26.o What: Track and field athlete competing in her second Olympics.o Background: Graduate of Skyview High School and Purdue University.o Residence: Chula Vista, Calif.o Event: Women’s javelin. Preliminaries Aug. 7; top 12 qualifiers compete in finals on Aug. 9.“It turns people’s heads when you say you were an Olympian,” said Clem Eischen, 85, who came out of Vancouver High School and Washington State to run the 1,500 meters at the London Games in 1948. “I was an All-American several times, but being an Olympian takes it up another notch.“I didn’t really think much about it at the time. As I get older it becomes more of a precious thing.”Eischen’s Olympic experience reflects the vast changes in the Games over the decades. The London of his Olympics was still recovering from the ravages of World War II, and sports were far from the worldwide media obsession they would become.last_img