Cheetah cubs named for U.S. Olympic sprinters

(CBS/AP) WASHINGTON - The 3-month-old cheetah cubs at the National Zoo in Washington have been named for the fastest American runners in the Olympics.

The zoo says the cubs have been named Carmelita and Justin after Carmelita Jeter and Justin Gatlin, who had the best U.S. finishes in the 100-meter dash.

2 cheetah cubs make National Zoo debut

Jeter won the silver medal in the women's event, 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 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.

The two cheetahs were born in April, one of which was saved after veterinarians performed a "rare and risky" emergency cesarean section. They made their debut at the National Zoo in July.