Tokyo Olympics Team USA: Ten young stars to look out for at Summer Games
From surfer Caroline Marks to skateboarder Nyjah Huston, people are already rooting for these US athletes before the start of the Tokyo Olympics
In just a few days, most of the world will be watching the 2020 Summer Olympics, which was delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The international multi-sport event will commence on 23 July and end on 8 August 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. According to reports, from the US only, nearly 600 athletes will compete in the Olympics.
Though the team of athletes will include famous names, like Williams sisters, Steph Curry, Christian Taylor, and Simone Biles, there are many young stars, many of whom are looking to win their first Olympic medals. People are also rooting for them as they are on their way to make it big and compete against athletes from other nations.
Simone Manuel [Swimming]: Manuel, 24, made history at the 2016 Summer Olympics, commonly known as Rio 2016 when she won the 100-meter freestyle and became the first African American woman winner of an individual swimming event. But this time in Tokyo, the 24-year-old won’t be competing in the 100-meter freestyle since she lost the qualifying round in the US Olympic trials. Instead, she will participate in the 50-meter freestyle in Tokyo, after winning the silver in that event in Rio.
Hannah Roberts [BMX Freestyle]: Roberts is just 19 and will compete for the gold medal in BMX Freestyle, which is debuting as a sport in the Tokyo Olympics. At such a young age, Roberts is already the winner of two BMX world championships and three world cup events. As per reports, her focus is more on introducing the world to the awesomeness that is BMX Freestyle, rather than the gold.
Caroline Marks [Surfing]: Along with BMX Freestyle, surfing is also making its debut at the Olympics and so is surfing star -- Caroline Marks. As per the World Surf League site. Marks is “the youngest surfer ever to qualify for the women’s Championship Tour, and has now also provisionally qualified to represent the USA at the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games.” The site also mentioned her other achievements, which included winning the Rookie of The Year award in 2018 on the Championship Tour and completing “the year ranked No.7 in the world. In her second, the ascent continued when she won two CT events on the Gold Coast and in Portugal was in the World Title mix all the way to the final event in Maui.”
Kanak Jha and Nikhil Kumar [Table Tennis]: Jha is just 21, who earlier qualified for the Rio Olympic Games in 2016 as the youngest American. The young man has won the US Men’s singles champion four times and is currently ranked 26 in the world. In Tokyo, he will reportedly be joined by 17-year-old Nikhil Kumar. Together, they will represent the US in one of the fastest sports in the Olympics.
Colin Duffy [Climbing]: Duffy is just 17 and one of the youngest to compete in the Tokyo Olympics. According to the USA Climbing website, he began “climbing when he was just five years old at ABC Kids Climbing in Boulder, CO, where he still trains today alongside his Olympic teammate, Brooke Raboutou.” This event is going to be more special for Duffy as along with him, Climbing is also debuting in Tokyo.
Sunisa Lee [Gymnastics]: The 18-year-old is a Hmong American artistic gymnast from St Paul, Minnesota. She began her training for the sport when she was just six. She was in a team that won gold at the 2019 World Championships. Besides, Lee also won silver for the floor exercise category and bronze for the uneven bars. On the USA Gymnastics website, her career highlights include: “2021 Winter Cup uneven bars champion and balance beam silver medalist and 2019 US uneven bars champion, all-around silver medalist and floor exercise bronze medalist.” After securing a spot on the US Olympic team, Lee told Alabama.com: “I’ve worked so hard the last couple of years, and to go out and do everything I was supposed to do feels amazing.”
Noah Lyles [Athletics]: Lyles is reportedly eyeing the 100m, 200m, and 4x100m titles. The 23-year-old, who is quite famous for patterned socks, love of painting, and the “ICON” tattoo across his rib cage, is on his way to becoming one of the biggest names in the sport. Not just his stunning speed, but his fun-loving personality is also quite attractive. He once said, “Too many people get caught up in not having fun when they run.”
Nyjah Huston [Skateboarding]: Huston is reportedly the highest-paid skater in the world. With skateboarding making its debut at the Olympics, the 26-year-old is all set to represent the US. In April 2020, he wrote for The Players’ Tribune, where he stated: “Every day I’m inside I swear I’m thinking about getting to Tokyo in 2021 and putting on those Team USA Nike jerseys. I hope that we do right by our fans, by the people who helped get the sport to this point. And I also hope there’s a little boy or girl watching at the park or on TV when the time comes.”
At the time, Huston added, “It's weird to me that skating isn’t on a bigger stage more often because of just how many kids do it all over the world. It’s an easily accessible sport with parks all over the country. You don’t need a ton of money or equipment to do it.”
Nevin Harrison [Sprint Canoeing]: The 19-year-old is the first American canoeist to win a medal at the world championships. The Seattle-based young star was just 17 in 2019 when she won gold at the C1 200m in the 2019 ICF Canoe Sprint World Championships in Hungary. She told Tokyo 2020 in February, “I am making training my number one priority no matter what. Keeping the Olympics in mind always has kept me very focused on my goals. I’m lucky to be surrounded by a great team and a great coach, who help me and guide me through this crazy time. At the moment, I am training in Florida with Team USA. Training was really challenging last year when Covid was hitting really hard, but with time we have learned how to handle the pandemic and make training as normal as possible. We are lucky because we're able to train in the gym and on the water every day.”