Career Highlights: Vlahos, 23, will make his first Olympic appearance this summer looking to continue a run of American success in the eight-man crew. The native of Piedmont, Calif., is the coxswain in that event, in which the U.S. has medaled the previous two Games. The Americans took gold in 2004 and bronze in Beijing, yet they almost didn’t qualify after failing to advance out of the 2011 world championships. However, his former coach at Cal, Mike Teti, took over the eights following that event and relocated the training to the East Bay in San Francisco. Vlahos was chosen out of three potential coxswains for the spot on the boat, and the updated team ultimately qualified for London. He was a volunteer assistant on Teti’s staff last season, earning a degree in interdisciplinary studies in 2010. While a senior at Cal, the 5-foot-9 coxswain - relatively tall for that position - helped the Golden Bears' varsity eight win a national title at the Intercollegiate Rowing Association regatta. Vlahos and his crewmates finished second in that event at the 2010 World Rowing U-23 championships.