WASHINGTON -- The 3-month-old cheetah cubs at the National Zoo in Washington have been named for the fastest Americans in the Olympics.
The zoo says the cubs have been named Carmelita and Justin after Carmelita Jeter and Justin Gatlin, who had the best American finishes in the 100-meter dash.
Jeter won the silver medal in the women's 100 meters, finishing in 10.78 seconds. Gatlin took the bronze in the men's 100 with a time of 9.79.
Cheetahs are the fastest animals on land. Scientists say every surviving cub is critical to saving the species, which is threatened with extinction in the wild.
Carmelita and Justin are genetically valuable because their mother and father were first-time parents. They were born in April at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Virginia.
Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press
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