London has been on Ben Shorey’s mind lately.

Actually, he said, “It’s on my mind a lot.”

No wonder. Less than a year from now, Shorey, the race walker from Ellsworth, hopes to be representing the United States in the London Summer Olympics. Of course, he’s just one of several Mainers who have that dream.

They are training — and have been training for years — for that chance to step into the world spotlight, to compete in the greatest gathering of world-class athletes in one setting.

And with the opening ceremonies scheduled for July 27, 2012 in Olympic Stadium, they’re all focusing a little more on that opportunity.

“It would I don’t know words cannot describe it,” said Lauren Forgues, a race walker from Boothbay. “When I was little, I wanted to be a gymnast. But I’m not flexible at all. Then one summer I watched the Olympics and I wanted to be a swimmer. But I sink like a stone in water.

“To have the chance to go to London and do something I’m good at, I can almost taste it. It’s almost surreal.”

Of course, Maine produces more than just race walkers. Seven Mainers competed in the Beijing Olympics in 2008 — the largest contingent from the state ever, with three winning gold medals and a fourth winning a bronze. We could see similar numbers in London, including several athletes who competed three years ago.

Rower Eleanor Logan of Boothbay Harbor is still on the women’s eight crew, which won gold in Beijing and a fifth consecutive world championship last November.

Mountain biker Adam Craig of Exeter and Dexter High, who finished 29th in Beijing, is still among the nation’s best — he finished third in the recent U.S. mountain bike national championships — and finally fully recovered from a knee injury that set him back.

Greenwood’s Anna Pierce competed in the 3,000-meter steeplechase in Beijing, finishing 10th.

This time she’s looking to make it in the 1,500-meter run where, a year ago, she was one of the world’s best.

And there are more: Portland’s Liz Leddy is attempting to be part of the first women’s boxing competition in Olympics history. North Yarmouth’s Ben True is hoping to make it in either the 5,000 or 10,000. Equestrian Gwyneth McPherson of Limington is considered among the nation’s best in Gran Prix dressage. And Cumberland’s Becky O’Brien continues to make a push in the discus and shot put.

“I’ve always wanted to be an Olympian,” said Leddy. “When I was younger, I was an equestrian. And I could have seen myself doing that. I had the skills to go for it. But I couldn’t pay the bills.

“Still, I always thought about competing in the Olympics.”

For some, the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janiero are a more realistic goal. But that doesn’t mean London isn’t on their radar.

“That’s the whole plan,” said True, who recently won the U.S. men’s 10K road racing championship. “I’m definitely looking at the Olympics. I strongly believe I have as good a chance as anyone to make the team. My goal this year is to put myself in position to do it.”

Each competitor knows that much work is to be done to get to London.

Leddy, 30, has to first qualify for the Olympic trials, scheduled for early next year. She’ll get her first chance at the Police Athletic League national championships in October; another at the world championships.

She needs to win a championship to get to the trials.

“I know I can do it,” she said. “I think if I did it (made it to London), my heart would explode. It would show how far I have come.”

She’ll have to do it at a different weight class than she normally competes in. She recently won the Golden Gloves national featherweight (125 pounds) championship. But women’s boxing will only consist of three classes — flyweight (112), lightweight (132) and heavyweight (165) — in London.

“She can hold her own at 132,” said Bobby Russo, her trainer. “There’s no question she can win.”

The race walkers and runners are trying to put themselves in position to make a run in the trials. That means meeting qualifying standards and then finishing in the top three at the trials.

True has met the B standard in the 5,000 but would like to make the A standard (13:20) as well. He’d also like to make it to the A standard in the 10,000 (27:45).

“Then, as far as having the standards for the trials, if I’m fit on that day and stay injury-free, I think it’s anyone’s race,” said True. “I just want to put myself in position. I have great confidence in my finishing speed.”

True feels he’s an underdog to make this Olympic team. He didn’t give up Nordic skiing until his senior year at Dartmouth College, so he has less experience than other top distance runners.

“I’m still relatively unknown in the running world,” he said. “I’m not on a lot of people’s radar.”

True finished 10th in the 5,000 in the U.S. nationals this year, as did Pierce, in her 1,500 race. Since she won that race in 2010, it was a disappointing finish. But she has plenty of time to regroup.

For Craig, the mountain biker, the selection process revolves around the World Cup races. “I think it’s pretty cut and dry for the Olympics,” he said. “You finish in the top five in the world championships (Sept. 4 in Switzerland) and you’re on the team. Other than that, there’s the first two or three races next year. The best two Americans from those races should go to the Games.”

The 29-year-old Craig, who tore the ACL in his left knee in February 2010, said getting back to the Olympics would mean a lot to him.

“I don’t feel I gave it a fair shake last time,” he said of his race in Beijing ,when his foot slipped off his pedal twice at the starting line, putting him far behind.

“I didn’t get a chance to race to my potential, or our country’s potential. I’d like to go back and knowing what I know from four years ago, put together a respectable ride.”

For these athletes, competing in the Olympics has always been a dream.

“It would mean a lot,” said Shorey. “It would basically be over a decade of training.”

And, said Forgues, it would bring a lot of pride to the state.

“It would be awesome if we could send a big Maine contingent to London,” she said. “That would be cool.”

Staff Writer Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or at:

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Twitter: MikeLowePPH