The 2012 Summer Olympic games opens tonight in London, beginning a two-week event featuring the best athletes in the world — including Michelle Carter of Red Oak, who will represent the U.S. track and field team in the shot put event.

For the Red Oak High School alumni (and four-time 4-A state high school shot put champion), this will be Carter’s second Olympic games as she competed in the Beijing games four years ago.

Needless to say, fans from throughout Ellis County will be cheering for Carter as she takes the field for Team USA, as well as her hometown of Red Oak back in Ellis County.

Qualifying to compete in the Olympics is a great honor and we certainly wish her a wonderful experience in London — as well as success on the field.

Carter is not the only Ellis County resident with ties to this year’s Olympic games. While not competing for a gold medal, Oak Leaf artist Leighton Autrey’s work will be featured during the games. One of Autrey’s paintings was selected by the Olympic Committee to be displayed and featured during the London games. He is one of 12 artists from around the world selected for the special honor.

While the eyes of the world will be trained on London during the next two weeks, we are certainly honored that out of all the talented people in the world, two members of our Ellis County community were selected to stand in the spotlight.

For the next two weeks the best athletes in the world will gather on the field, united in the fellowship of sport, demonstrating the best of humanity as they compete for themselves, their country and the thousands of folks back home cheering them on.

That’s something to be proud of.

That’s something to cheer about.

And certainly, that’s a great reason to tune in to the games.

Congratulations to both Carter and Autrey for being selected to represent the United States on the Olympic stage. We’ll be cheering for Carter to bring home the gold.