TYLER, Texas (KXAN/KETK) — The Tokyo Olympics are a little more than a week away, and dozens of athletes from Texas will compete in the summer games. Learn about who to watch from your area below.
- Mackenzie Brown is part of the women’s Archery team for Team USA. She is an Olympian from Flint, Texas who was home-schooled. She’s also a part of the US National Team and currently ranked #2 in the country.
- Patrick Samoura is a member of the Czech Republic men’s basketball team. He also is committed to play collegiatley at UT Tyler starting this winter.
- Valarie Allman will compete in the Women’s Discus for Team USA. Allman is a University of Texas Volunteer Assistant Coach. Allman now heads to the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 as one of the favorites for the gold medal. Four ways that dance has helped Allman excel in the discus throw: She embraced ballet, jazz, hip-hop, tap and contemporary dance early on and from the age of 10 performed competitively. Dance helped her in her discipline, performing under pressure, refining the art of body movement and coachability.
- Ariel Atkins is part of the U.S. Olympic Women’s Basketball Team for Team USA. The former University of Texas at Austin Longhorn currently plays for the WNBA’s Washington Mystics as a point guard. Atkins is one of a trio of three 24-year-olds on the team — though she’ll turn 25 in Tokyo — Atkins is making not only her Olympic debut but her senior international debut. She is originally from Duncanville.
- Caspar Corbeau will swim for the Dutch National Olympics Team in the 100 breaststroke and 200 breaststroke competition. The swimmer is originally from the West Coast. He previously competed in the 2018 Summer Youth Olympic Games.
- Ryan Crouser will compete in the Men’s Shot Put for Team USA. During trials, the former Longhorn and Rio 2016 gold medalist threw 76 feet, 8 1/4 inches, breaking a 31-year-old shot put world record. World champion Joe Kovacs, finished second, and Payton Otterdahl, earned the third spot. The 28-year-old built a training ring at his home in Arkansas to stay on point during the coronavirus pandemic.
- Teahna Daniels will compete in the Women’s 100 meters for Team USA. The former Longhorn and current volunteer assistant UT coach placed third in the 100m final to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics with a time of 11.03.
- Tara Davis will compete in the Women’s Long Jump for Team USA. She finished second in long jump behind Brittany “the beast” Reese punching her ticket to Tokyo. She and her boyfriend, two-time Paralympic medalist Hunter Woodhall, will both go to Tokyo. Earlier this year, Davis broke Jackie Joyner’s 36-year old collegiate. She will graduate from UT next spring.
- Gia Doonan will compete in the women’s eight rowing competition for Team USA. The former UT Longhorn will be the first UT rower to compete at the Olympic Games. She been on the U.S. Rowing Senior National Team since 2017. Women’s rowing events are slated to start on Friday, July 23, and the Women’s Eight Heats are scheduled to begin on Sunday, July 25.
- Kevin Durant will lead the U.S. Olympic Men’s Basketball Team for Team USA. The two-time Olympic gold medalist and Brooklyn Nets forward will head to his third Olympics. Durant is also a former UT Longhorn. The men’s team will be led by the Spurs’ Gregg Popovich as head coach. Athletic trainers also include some Texas ties: Will Sevening (San Antonio Spurs), Jason Biles (Houston Rockets) and Dionne Calhoun (San Antonio Spurs). Team USA’s first game in Japan is scheduled for July 25 against France.
- Alison Gibson will dive in the women’s synchronized three-meter springboard with partner Krysta Palmer for Team USA. The Austinite went from homeschool to highlight reel and as a freshman at UT. Gibson won the first event she contested at the NCAA Championships (one-meter springboard, which is not an Olympic event), becoming the Longhorns’ first female NCAA diving champion in 10 years. Gibson is coached by 1992 Olympic diver for Team USA Coach Matt Scoggin. The former Olympian will return to the Games as assistant coach for Team USA.
- Townley Haas, a 2016 gold medalist after winning the 4x200m freestyle relay swim. He will compete in the same event and the 200m freestyle in Tokyo for Team USA. Haas is also a former UT Longhorn.
- Kendra “Keni” Harrison will compete in the 100m hurdles race for Team USA. Harrison broke the 100m hurdles world record (12.20 seconds) in the London Diamond League meet in July 2016 after barely missing out on Team USA’s 100m hurdles squad for Rio 2016. She is now looked at a favorite to medal in the event after finishing first at the U.S Track & Field Olympic Team Trials with a 12.47-second race on June 20. Harrison is also a UT volunteer assistant coach.
- Hailey Hernandez will compete in the women’s 3-meter springboard event for Team USA. At 18, Hernandez is the youngest female diver going to Tokyo on the team. She is also an incoming UT Austin freshman. Hernandez is a four-time Texas state champion and a native of Southlake, Texas.
- Lydia Jacoby will swim in the 100m breaststroke for Team USA. The 17-year-old is the first swimmer from Alaska to make the team and is also an incoming UT freshman. Jacoby swims for Seward Tsunami Swim Club, based about two and a half hours south of the state’s biggest city Anchorage, which houses one of the few 50-meter pools in the state. Her club has about 50 members, consisted “mostly of little kids,” and she was the first swimmer from her state to even win a junior national title, which she did in 2019. Jacoby qualified for the Olympic Trials back in December 2018 as a 14-year-old. She finished 2nd during the U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials in Omaha, Nebraska.
- Jonathan Jones will run in the men’s 400m race for the Barbados National Team. Jones is a UT Longhorn and three-time USTFCCCA All-American, one-time Big 12 Champion as well as a school-record holder – Outdoor 400m in 2019. He is a majoring in Applied Movement Science.
- Fred Kerley will compete in the men’s 100m race for Team USA. Kerley is from Taylor, Texas and a former Texas Aggie. He qualified for the race after finishing third with a time of 9.86 seconds, just .06 seconds behind the winner Trayvon Bromwell. Taylor High former coaches and Taylor ISD paid to get a billboard outside high school wishing Kerley good luck.
- Drew Kibler will swim in the 200m freestyle and 4x200m relay for Team USA. The UT Longhorn will make Olympic debut after finishing third in the 200m race. He’s a four-time USTFCCCA All-American and two-time Big 12 Champion.
- Steffin McCarter will long jump for Team USA. The local from Copperas Cove who went to Lampasas High made the after finishing third during trials. He’s a UT Longhorn.
- Chiaka Ogbogu will play Volleyball for Team USA. The former UT Longhorn is from Coppell, Texas. She became Texas’ all-time blocks leader, passing Errica Hibben’s record set in 1992 as well as Texas’ all-time block assist leader, passing Molly McCage’s record set in 2015. She said she will continue to play as long as she can, because she believes representation matters saying, “The impact of representation is life-changing. Right now, I’m pursuing volleyball for as long as I can to put myself out there, so that young Black volleyball players can see themselves represented more in this sport.” The middle blocker is 6-foot-2 and owns the highest approach jump on the team at 10′-8.5.” For reference, a basketball goal is 10 feet.
- Cat Osterman will play softball for Team USA. The former UT Longhorn and former Texas State Pitching Coach is a two-time Olympic medalist (1 gold 2004, 1 silver 2008). The pitcher came out for retirement for Tokyo but said these are her last games. This will also mark the return of baseball and softball to the Olympic Games after being out since the Beijing 2008 Games. Osterman will lead the Team USA Softball team and hopefully come home with gold. They will face the Japanese softball team on their home turf, the same team Team USA Softball lost the gold to in 2008. Unfortunately for softball fans, the sport is not on the program for the 2024 Games in Paris. Softball kicks off first at the Olympics with two opening round (includes USA team) on July 21 before opening ceremony on July 23.
- Ryder Ryan will play baseball for Team USA. The right hand pitcher is a Round Rock Express player in the Texas Rangers system.
- Remedy Rule will swim in the women’s 100m butterfly and 200m butterfly for the Philippines National Olympic Team. She is a former UT Longhorn. The Philippines has 19 Olympians for Tokyo 2020, and Rule is one of them.
- Erica Sullivan will compete in the women’s 1500m swim. She finished second behind Katie Ledecky during the U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials in June. Sullivan is an incoming UT Austin freshman who will make her Olympic debut in Tokyo. She plans to study Radio-Television-Film at UT and even had a message for Matthew McConaughey.
- Gabby Thomas will run in the women’s 200m for Team USA. The Harvard grad is now a UT Longhorn working to get Masters in Epidemiology. She graduated from Harvard with a neurobiology degree with an interest in racial health disparities. She finished the 200m during trials in 21.61 seconds the best to do it behind Florence Griffith Joyner aka FloJo. She trains locally at the Buford Bailey Track Club and Elite Track & Field Club in Austin. “The Bailey Bunch” Creating Olympians day-by-day is its motto.
- Stacey Ann Williams will run in the 4x400m Relay for Jamaica’s National Team after finishing fourth in the 400m at the Jamaican Olympic Trials. She posted a personal-best 50.14, the fifth-fastest time in Texas history. Williams is also a UT Longhorn.
- Jordan Windle will dive in the men’s 10-meter platform for Team USA. The UT Longhorn placed second in finals to punch his ticket to Tokyo. He’s a two-time NCAA champion and 12-time All-American in his first four years at UT. Windle was adopted from Cambodia at 18 months and had the opportunity to return to his native country for the first time in May of 2016. He and his dad Jerry co-authored a children’s book called “An Orphan No More: The True Story of a Boy” about a white rooster who adopts a brown boy. The forward was written by Greg Louganis, Jordan’s favorite diver. He’s the third Longhorn diver to earn a spot on the U.S. Olympic Team, joining former UT star Alison Gibson (Women’s Synchronized 3-meter Springboard) and incoming freshman Hailey Hernandez (Women’s 3-meter Springboard). Windle hopes to one day be a diving coach.
- Courtney Hurley will compete in epee fencing for Team USA. She is the younger of the Hurley sisters as her sister Kelley Hurley also competes. Hurley and the team won bronze during the 2012 Olympic Games and made history in the individual competition at the 2018 Senior World Championships, where she won Team USA’s first-ever individual medal for an epee fencer with bronze. A four-time individual medalist on the World Cup circuit, Courtney began the qualification period with a silver medal finish at the Dubai World Cup in 2019 and placed in the top 64 at the Kazan World Cup in March 2021.
- Kelley Hurley will compete in epee fencing for Team USA. She is the oldest of the Hurley sisters as her sister Courtney Hurley also competes. Hurley is a three-time Olympian who represented Team USA for the first time in Beijing. Hurley spent the break from competition beginning her first year in medical school and qualified for her fourth Olympic Team in March with a top-32 result at the Kazan World Cup. She is currently ranked No. 16 in the world.
- Keith Sanderson will shoot pistol for Team USA. He is a three-time Olympian (2008, 2012, 2016).
- Trayvon Bromell will run the men’s 100m for Team USA. He is a St. Petersburg, Fla., native who competed at the 2016 Olympics in Rio before leaving with an injury that he has been battling back from ever since. Bromell is also a Baylor track & field legend clocked in at 9.80 in the final to complete the sweep of the first round (9.84), semifinals (9.90) and final and earn a spot on the United States Olympic Team for the second time.
- KC Lightfoot will compete in the men’s pole vault for Team USA. He is former Baylor standout pole vaulter set an outdoor personal best of 19-2.25 (5.85m) en route to finishing top-3 at Hayward Field to earn a spot on the United States Olympic Team. The Lee’s Summit, Mo., native is joined by Chris Nilsen (19-4.25, 5.90m) and Sam Kendricks (19-2.25, 5.85m) on Team USA.
- Will London III will run in the 4x400m Mixed Relay Pool as an Alternate for Team USA after placing eighth in the 400m with a time of 45.00 in the final. The former Baylor University Bear is also a local from Waco. He’s a seven-time NCAA Big 12 indoor and outdoor champion at Baylor University as well as a school record holder in 400m at Baylor. When he’s not on the track, he enjoys fishing and hunting.
- Simone Biles will lead the women’s gymnastics team for Team USA. The Rio 2016 five-time medalist (4 gold/1 bronze) trains at the World Champions Centre in Houston with Coach Laurent Landi. Biles became the first woman to win four straight U.S. all-around titles in 42 years at the 2016 P&G Championship. The 4-foot-8 giant is also known as the ‘GOAT’ of gymnastics or the greatest of all time. Biles finished first at the U.S. Gymnastics Trials with a score of 118.098, automatically qualifying for a spot on Team USA. She is the only non-first-time Olympian on the women’s team. After Rio, Biles went on to win nine gold medals at world championships, and more recently, a record-breaking seventh national women’s all-around title at the U.S. Gymnastics Championships. Biles is the most decorated American gymnast and has four eponymous skills. The 24-year-old will compete on the floor, vault, beam, all-around and team events. Her favorite event is floor exercise and began gymnastics in 2003.
- Anna van Brummen will compete in epee fencing for Team USA. She is a three-time Senior World Team member, Van Brummen earned her position on the Tokyo squad with a series of results that included a top-16 finish in Doha in 2020 and a top-32 in Dubai in 2019. The fencer earned her master’s degree in geophysics in Switzerland while training for the Tokyo Games in 2019, now balances training with her career as an environmental scientist.
- Jordan Chiles will compete for Team USA‘s Women’s gymnastics team. She is originally from Washington but trains with Simone Biles in Houston at the World Champions Centre. She almost quit the sport in 2018, but since then the 20-year-old Chiles has risen to the top of the women’s gymnastics scene. In 2021, Chiles has hit 24 out of 24 routines at meets. Chiles is the 2021 U.S. vault bronze medalist and 2021 Winter Cup all-around, vault and floor champion. The UCLA commit is named after basketball icon Michael Jordan.
- Byrce Deadmon will run in the 4x400m Relays for Team USA. The Missouri City, Texas native is a graduate student on the A&M track team, and while he failed to qualify for the individual 400 meters, he did enough to be a part of the USA’s 4×400 meter relay team. He will train College Station for the rest of the summer until he leaves for the Olympics.
- Virginia “Ginny” Fuchs is a flyweight boxer for Team USA. She has been selected as a captain for the team’s boxing team. The Houston, Texas native won the 2016 Olympic Trials for Boxing but failed to qualify to Rio 2016. Since Rio, Fuchs has won 8 international medals – six gold and two bronze. Fuchs is the only returning member from the 2016 squad. The flyweight representative went unbeaten through the trials, defeating alternate Christina Cruz twice, and then once again in the gold medal match at the Strandja Tournament to cement her spot.
- Brittney Griner is part of the U.S. Olympic Women’s Basketball Team for Team USA. Griner is a Houston, Texas native and a former Baylor University Bear as well as a Rio 2016 gold medalist. The 6-foot-9 player currently plays for the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury as a Center. Griner spearheaded a mobile app called BG:BU, which is being designed to encourage empowerment, strength and creativity for youth who are bullied as well as allies in the fight to end bullying by giving them an outlet to talk.
- Munzy Kabbara will swim in the men’s 200m Individual Medley for the Lebanon National Olympic Team. Kabbara is also an incoming Texas A&M Aggies and a Houston, Texas native. He was able to qualify for Tokyo by achieving the highest FINA points among the Lebanese National Swimmers. He is a USA Swimming Scholastic All-American from Cypress Woods High School. Born in Houston to a Lebanese father and an American mother, Kabbara is a dual citizen and has been on the Lebanese National Team since he was 14.
- Simone Manuel will swim in the women’s 50m freestyle for Team USA. Manuel is a four-time medalist (2 golds, 2 silvers) at the 2016 Rio Olympics. She is from Sugar Land, Texas and went to Stanford University. Manuel said if she wasn’t a competitive swimmer, she would be either a singer or dancer.
- Sarah Robles is part of Team USA’s Weightlifting team. She is a two-time Olympian (one bronze medal – Rio 2016) and while she is originally from California she trains in the Houston area. Her favorite competition list is the clean and jerk.
- Raevyn Rogers will run in the women’s 800m for Team USA. The Houston native is an Oregon Track & Field Alum. During trials, she finished, behind 19-year-old Athing Mu out of Texas A&M. She began running when she was five in summer track programs. Rogers grew up speaking Spanish and is fluent in the language. She hopes to one day get her paintings in art galleries and the MoMA.
- Simeon Woods Richardson will play baseball for Team USA. The Sugar Land, Texas native is currently the right-hand pitcher for the Toronto Blue Jays. The team is looking for the country’s first gold medal since 2000. The team has won bronze twice (1996 and 2008).
- Victoria Stambaugh will compete for the Puerto Rican National Olympic Team in Taekwondo. She has been on the Puerto Rican Taekwondo National team since 2011 in the weight category of -49 kilograms or 108 lbs. Stambaugh has been competing in the sport of Taekwondo for 19 years. “I have a total of 17 scars on my knees. I’ve had a total of 6 knee surgeries. ACL reconstruction in 2010, meniscus and ACL reconstruction in 2012, two reconstruction ACL surgeries in 2013, a meniscectomy of the meniscus in 2018, and another meniscectomy of the meniscus in 2019. After my 6th knee surgery in 2019, I thought it to be impossible to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games after hearing the shocking news that I had about 20-30% of my meniscus left over from surgery. However, through my faith in Christ, I felt I had to continue and finish my race on to becoming an Olympian.”
- Tamyra Mensah-Stock will wrestle for Team USA. She was one of the first to qualify for Tokyo at the beginning of April during the Olympic wrestling trials. Mensha-Stock is a Katy, Texas native. This is technically Mensah-Stock’s second time winning U.S. Olympic Team Trials. Five years ago, she won her weight class at Trials, but because the U.S. hadn’t yet earned a quota spot in the class, her ticket to Rio was contingent on going through last-chance qualifying tournaments. When she didn’t achieve the required result (top two) at either event, her door to the Rio Olympics closed. In the lead-up to Tokyo, Mensah-Stock confirmed that she wouldn’t have a similar fate this time around. She won the 2019 world title at 68 kg, qualifying her weight class for the Olympics, and earning a bye to the best-of-three finals at this year’s U.S. Trials.
- Huijing Wang will compete in Table Tennis for Team USA. She is also known as Coach Katherine (Huijing) Wang, according to the Houston Badminton Center where she coaches. Coach Wang was born and raised in China where she trained and coached in the city of Tianjin. She was a member of the China National Youth Table Tennis Team and later coached in Japan. She has won multiple tournaments during her career.
- Kevon Williams is a player for the Rugby Men’s Sevens for Team USA. The rugby player is from Houston and play Halfback/Wing. He has competed in 27 World Rugby Sevens Events. Williams made his HSBC Sevens Series debut at the 2016 Dubai Sevens Tournament after impressive performances with the Denver Barbarians earned him National Team attention.
- Tori Vidales will play Softball for Mexico’s National Olympic Team. She is a former Texas A&M Aggie graduating in 2018. She has worked for the SEC Network as a softball analyst. She plays first base and is from La Porte, Texas.
Brownsville & The RGV
- Juan Carlos Obregón Jr. will play Soccer as a Forward for the Honduras National Olympic Team. He is currently a player for the Hartford Athletic in Connecticut, but before that he was with the Rio Grande Valley FC Toros in Edinburgh. He is originally from Brooklyn, New York. Fans of the U.S. Men’s National Team won’t need reminding of how Honduras booked its spot in the Tokyo Olympics, bouncing the U.S. out of the CONCACAF Men’s Olympic Qualifying Championship in the semifinal round by a 2-1 score. The Central Americas are no strangers to the Olympic stage, having qualified for the previous three tournaments. Only they and CONCACAF neighbors Mexico have managed that feat (Japan and Brazil have also appeared in all three, though were granted automatic qualification as hosts in one instance). Obregón Jr. is most recently known for scoring the opening goal in Honduras’s 2-1 victory over Team USA in March. The loss ended Team USA’s bid to qualify for the 2021 Olympic games.
- William McDowell-White will play Basketball for Australia’s National Olympic Team. He is an Indigenous Australian player who up until this past March played for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers as a point guard. He has moved to the New Zealand Breakers.
- Tobi Amusan will compete in the women’s 100m hurdles for the Nigerian National Olympic Team. Amusan is a former University of Texas at El Paso Miner and a UTEP volunteer assistant coach who won the 100m hurdle race during trials despite a timing malfunction, at 2021 AFN #Nigeria Olympic Trials in Yaba, Lagos.
- Victor Aranda, Jr. has been selected to represent Team USA as an Alternate for the Boxing team. As an alternate, Aranda is not guaranteed a trip to Tokyo unless Delante Johnson is unable to compete. The El Paso amateur boxer could compete in the 152 pound weight class if called upon. He is widely considered one of the top amateurs in the country. He trains and lives in El Paso with Ruben Garcia. Aranda has more than 50 amateur wins and a Golden Gloves state championship from 2017. He said he’s ready to sign to become pro.
- Sean Bailey will run in the 400m and 4×400m Relay for Jamaica’s Olympic Team. Bailey is a UT El Paso graduate student. Bailey comes from a tremendous track and field family. His sister, Veronica Campbell Brown, is an eight-time Olympic medalist and won three gold medals in her illustrious sprinting career. Bailey won the men’s 400m race during the Jamaican Track & Field Trials finishing in 45.04.
- Manny Bautista with work with Team USA’s Track & Field staff. Bautista served on his first International team with USATF in 1997 at the World University Games. He has since served on a total of 18 National teams including the Olympic Games, World Indoors and Outdoors, World Cross Country, World Relays and the Continental Cup. In 2008 Bautista served on the Beijing 2008 USATF staff as assistant manager and in 2018 he was elected into the California Community College Cross Country and Track Coaches Association Hall of Fame. He was a 1978 Junior College All-American in Track and Field (10,000m) while at South Plains Junior College in Levelland, Texas. Bautista transferred to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo where he was a member of 4 NCAA Division II National Championship Teams (2 in Cross Country and 2 in Track and Field.) He also earned All-American honors in both Cross Country and Track and Field. He also competed in the 1984 Olympic Marathon Trials.
- Rachel Dincoff with compete in the women’s Discus event for Team USA. The former Auburn All-American, Dincoff made her first United States Olympic Team when she qualified for Tokyo in the women’s discus throw after finishing third in the finals of the U.S. Olympic Trials on June 19 at Hayward Field. She is also a New Mexico State assistant coach in discus. She has been doing that since 2017, specializing as a throws coach.
- Lina Khiyara will swim in the women’s 50m & 100m for Morocco’s National Olympic Team. The young swimmer has is also an incoming freshman for New Mexico State. The future Aggie and freestyle specialist is no stranger to the world stage as she represented Morocco at the 2019 World Aquatic Championships in Gwangju, South Korea, and the 2019 African Games in Rabat, Morocco. At World Aquatic Championships she swam the 50 and 100 Free while competing in a number of events at the African Games including the 400 and 200 Free.
- Emmanuel Korir will fun in the men’s 400m and 800m race for Kenya’s National Olympic Team. Korir is a former UT El Paso Miner. As a freshman at UTEP in 2017, the Kenya native broke a world record in the 600m. Most recently, the UTEP alum Korir runs second-fastest 800M time in 2021 two weeks before Olympics.
- Blessing Okagbare will run in the women’s 100m for Nigeria’s Olympic Team. Okagbare is a former UTEP Miner and Texas Tech Raider. The sprinter dominated Nigeria’s Track & Field Trials finishing the race in 10.63. The time tied Okagbare to Jamaica’s Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, the second-fastest woman in the world.
- Michael Saruni will compete in the men’s 800m for Kenya’s National Olympic Team. Saruni is a former UT El Paso Miner and punched his ticket to Tokyo after winning the 800m final in 1:45.81 during Kenya’s Track and Field Trials in Nairobi.
- Alena Sharp will golf for Team Canada. The former New Mexico State University Aggie is a Canadian professional golfer who has ties to New Mexico as a graduate of university. Sharp won the 2000 Big West Championship as well as the 2002 and 2003 Sun Belt Championship while a member of the NMSU women’s golf team. As an Aggie, she also helped lead NMSU to two NCAA Championship Appearances in 2000 and 2001. The Hamilton, Ontario, native posted a 13th-place finish at the 2000 National Championship. She is a 16-year veteran of the LGPA Tour, Sharp has finished top-10 at 14 events since joining the tour in 2005 while posting a 30th-place finish at the 2016 Rio Olympics. She has nine professional wins.
- Paige McPherson will represent Team USA in Taekwondo. The three-time Olympian is a bronze medalist (London 2012). She was born in Abilene but calls Miami, Florida home. McPherson was adopted at four years old. She has been a USA National Team Member for 10 consecutive years. She is a part of the nonprofit organization, A Safe Haven For Newborns. An organization that helps newborns from the dangers of abandonment and prevent the crisis that mothers-to-be can go through.
- Sally Kipyego will run for Team USA in the marathon. The former Texas Tech Raider finished in third-place at the Olympic Marathon Trials, securing her spot to Tokyo and her second trip to the Games. Her first was in 2012 when she was a citizen of Kenya, and she won the silver medal in the 10,000 meters. Kipyego, who was a nine-time NCAA champion at Texas Tech University, became an American citizen in 2017 after living for 15 years in the U.S. She gave birth to her first child, daughter Emma, in July 2017, and returned to marathoning last year.
- Daisy Osakue will compete in the women’s Discus event for Italy’s National Olympic Team. Osakue is recent Angelo State University grad. She was born in Italy to Nigerian immigrant parents. She came to Angelo State in 2017 when she placed fourth in discus at the NCAA D2 Outdoor National Championships. Since then, Osakue was named an 8-time All-American, and 2-time national champion. She broke her own NCAA D2 discus record twice and won gold at the World University Games in 2019. She is believed to be ASU’s first Olympian since Tranel Hawkins finished sixth in the 400 hurdles competing for the United States at the 1984 Olympics.
- Natalie Hinds will swim in the 4x100m freestyle relay for Team USA. The Midland native got the chance to compete in the relays after finishing fourth in the 100m swim. This is the third time, the 27-year-old has qualified for the U.S. Olympic Trials. She did so in 2012 and 2016 but did not make Team USA for London nor Rio de Janeiro. Hinds is a former Gator after attending University of Florida. The young woman is also a small business owner, she creates (handmade) unique and colorful home décor.
- Bryce Hoppel will run the men’s 800m for Team USA. The University of Kansas and Midland native is the 2019 Indoor Big 12 Champion in the 800m.
- Aviv Barzelay will swim in the women’s 100m backstroke for Israel’s National Olympic Team. Barzelay is an incoming freshman, for Texas A&M University. By the time she was three months old, Barzali had already learned to float. Now at the age of 18, she has already set records and has the option to set an Olympic criterion. In an interview with Sport Haaretz, she talks about the high ambitions, the price she pays and the treatment of female athletes in Israel: “We only have three girls compared to ten boys.” She is an Israel national record holder in the 200m long course meter backstroke at 2:10:76 – she’s held that title since 2019 but lowered her own record recently.
- Beryl Gastaldello will swim in the 4×100 freestyle for France’s National Olympic Team. Gastaldello is a former Texas A&M Aggie and third-generation Olympic athlete representing France. She qualified for her 2nd Olympic Games with the 4×100 free. She will also be able to swim in another event. “Despite being extremely disappointed with my results at trials, I’m in the game and I will give my best for my team.”
- Tyra Gittens will Long Jump for her home country of Trinidad and Tobago’s National Olympic Team. Gittens is also a Texas A&M Aggie. During the 2021 season, Gittens finished as a six-time NCAA First Team All-American, including national championships in the indoor pentathlon, indoor high jump and outdoor heptathlon. The multi-athlete set school records in six events, including the indoor long jump (21-11/6.68m) and outdoor long jump (22-10/6.96m). She recorded seven collegiate all-time top-12 marks, including a collegiate record pentathlon score of 4,746 points. At the Southeastern Conference Outdoor Championships, Gittens high jumped 6-4.75 (1.95m) and long jumped 22-10 (6.96m) becoming the first woman in world history to accomplish such marks within the same heptathlon. She finished the season as the USTFCCCA National Indoor and Outdoor Field Athlete of the Year. She is the reigning NCAA champion in the women’s outdoor hepthatlon, indoor penthatlon and indoor high jump.
- Alaïs Kalonji will dive for France’s National Olympic Team. Kalonji is a former Texas A&M Aggie. She is from Rennes, France.
- Annie Kunz will compete in the Heptathlon for Team USA. Kunz is a former Texas A&M Aggie. Many Aggies may know Kunz primarily from her time on the Texas A&M soccer team (she was an All-SEC First Teamer in 2014), but she is a gifted all-around athlete, which she proved last month by posting a personal best and finishing first in the Women’s Heptathlon at the U.S. Olympic Track & Field Trials in Eugene, Oregon with 6703 points. Her reaction once it was official speaks for itself. She shattered her personal best score and now her dad, former Raiders’ Super Bowl champ, Terry Kunz hopes she will medal. She’s not backed by corporate sponsors like many Olympic athletes, Kunz had to raise funds herself. TexAgs donated $5,000 to a GoFundMe started in her honor and they asked the Aggie and TexAgs communities to join the effort and match the $5,000. They did. They raised $11,718. All money raised will go directly to Annie’s Olympic expenses. The heptathlon consists of the 100-meter hurdles, high jump, shot put, 200-meter dash, long jump, javelin, and 800-meter run, which requires a variety of skills. Kunz is originally from Colorado.
- Deon Lendore will compete in the men’s 400m & 4x400m relay for Trinidad and Tobago’s National Olympic Team. He is a former Texas A&M Aggies. Lendore, the 2014 Bowerman winner, spent 2021 as a volunteer assistant under head coach Pat Henry, as well as competing professionally. The Puma professional recently clocked a season-best 400m time of 44.73 in Stockholm, Sweden. His time ranks 16th fastest in the world in 2021. Since his graduation from Texas A&M in 2015, Lendore has been competing professionally under contract with Puma while representing Trinidad and Tobago. Lendore has appeared in the past two Olympic games, and he anchored Trinidad and Tobago to a bronze medal in the 4x400m in 2012 at the London Olympics. He was a two-time 2016 world indoor championships bronze medalist in the 400m and 4x400m, and a 2015 world championship silver medalist in the 4x400m in 2015.
- Maggie Malone will compete in the Javelin event for Team USA. Malone was a national champion javelin thrower for Texas A&M in 2016, and also placed 25th in the event at the 2016 Olympics in Rio. After winning the event at the US Olympic Trials (and setting a new American record), she will be back for her second Olympics. During trials, Malone blasted a 66.82m/219-3 in the third round of the women’s javelin to (pending ratification) take down Kara Winger’s American record of 66.67m/218-8, set in 2010 at the USATF Championships in Des Moines. When she was in kindergarten, she broke her femur and chipped her growth plate and the doctors thought her leg would never grow again.
- Angel Martinez will swim in the men’s 200m Individual Medley for Mexico’s National Olympic Team. The 24-year-old is a former Texas A&M Aggie.
- Khris Middleton will play for the U.S. Olympic Men’s Basketball Team for Team USA. Middleton is a former Texas A&M Aggie. He currently is the Forward for the NBA Team: Milwaukee Bucks. The men’s team will be led by the Spurs’ Gregg Popovich as Head Coach. Athletic trainers also include some Texas ties: Will Sevening (San Antonio Spurs), Jason Biles (Houston Rockets), Dionne Calhoun (San Antonio Spurs). The Milwaukee Bucks forward has never competed on the Olympic stage.
- Athing Mu will run in the women’s 800m for Team USA. Mu dominated the collegiate ranks as a freshman on the Texas A&M track team this year, and after officially going pro in June, she posted a 1:56.07 time in the 800 meters at the Olympic Trials, which is the current world-leading mark and is the second-fastest by an American all-time. By going pro, she forgoes her remaining three years of collegiate eligibility. She has a good chance for a gold medal, and may just be one of the most dominant athletes to ever come through Aggieland. Mu is originally from Trenton, New Jersey. Her parents emigrated from Sudan around 2000 before she was born.
- Sydney Pickrem will swim in the women’s 200m breaststroke, 200m Individual Medley and 400m Individual Medley for Team Canada. She is a former Texas A&M Aggie. The 2019 A&M graduate was born and raised in Florida, but Pickrem is a dual Canadian-American citizen whose family hails from Halifax. She made her Olympic debut at Rio 2016 where she advanced to the final of the 200m IM, finishing sixth, and also competed in the 400m IM. In 2019, Pickrem became the first Canadian woman ever to win three individual swimming medals at the world championship as she added bronzes in the 200m IM and 200m breaststroke to the 400m IM bronze she won in 2017. While competing for Texas A&M University from 2015 to 2019, Pickrem became an 11-time All-American and was twice named the school’s athlete of the year (2017, 2018). A little more about Pickrem, her nickname is Syd and considers sparkly boots as her good luck charm. Pickrem is one of six swimmers nominated by Swimming Canada to represent the country.
- Spc. Phillip Jungman will make his Olympic debut and shoot skeet for Team USA. The Caldwell native and U.S. Army Specialist is an instructor/shooter with the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit. He qualified just before the COVID-19 pandemic hit and postponed the Olympic Games. Jungman started shooting in 4-H at the age of eight and excelled in skeet, earning numerous gold, silver and bronze medals on both the national and world level as a junior. In 2016, Jungman was selected as an alternate for the Olympic Games. Now, after a two-part Olympic Trial, the Soldier has achieved his dream of making it on an Olympic Team. In 2021, Jungman will represent USA Shooting, the U.S. Army, and the entire Nation at the Olympic Games. He is aiming for gold.