In the first year that women’s boxing was an Olympic event, Marlen Esparza earned a bronze medal for the U.S. Esparza’s performance at the Olympics earned her lucrative sponsorship deals with Cover Girl, Coca-Cola and McDonalds, cementing her position as an important ambassador for the Hispanic business community. At only 23 years of age, she will continue her training and compete in national and international competitions. However, Esparza has stated that she will not compete in the 2016 Olympics.
Daughter of Mexican immigrants Brenda Villa was the captain of the gold-medal-winning women’s water polo team. Her athletic career has hit numerous peaks, and she is now the most decorated woman in water polo today. Known for being a tenacious attacker and prolific scorer, 32-year-old Villa plans to retire following London 2012. She will do more work with her non-profit group, Project 20-20, to give low-income children a chance to learn and play water polo. Villa will live and work around Palo Alto, Calif., where she will be the full-time coach at the Castilleja School.