News & Politics

National Zoo Names Cheetah Cubs After Olympic Runners

Due to their speed, Carmelita Jeter and Justin Gatlin get the honor.

Say hello to Carmelita and Justin. Photograph by Andrew Propp.

The Olympics have made their mark on Washington in a special and furry way. The National
Zoo today announced it has named its two prized cheetah cubs, a boy and a girl, after
the United States’ two fastest runners:
Carmelita Jeter, who ran the 100-meter spring in 10.78 seconds, and
Justin Gatlin, who ran the same race in 10.64 seconds. They both won medals, Jeter the silver and
Gatlin the bronze.

Cheetahs are known to be the fastest land animals, able to reach speeds of 70 to 75
miles an hour.

Also of note: The artificial limbs worn by South African Olympic runner and double
Oscar Pistorius are called Flex-Foot Cheetah prosthetics, or “cheetah paws.”

The National Zoo’s newest cheetahs were born April 23 and are growing fast. They were
recently given their own yard and are available for public viewing every day at 10
AM and 1 PM.