25 Olympians competing in Tokyo 2020 with DMV ties originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
After a year-long delay forced by the coronavirus pandemic, the 2020 Tokyo Olympics will kick off July 23, 2021, and last until Aug. 8. It will mark the first time since 1964 that Japan has hosted the Games, giving athletes from the U.S. and abroad a chance to visit the historic country while competing for the title of best in the world.
Many of those Olympians have significant ties to the DMV. Some were raised in the areas while others have competed for its major sports teams. Here are 25 such players and coaches that will be performing on the Olympic stage this year.
The U.S. Men’s National Basketball Team is stocked with NBA talent, including Wizards shooting guard Bradley Beal. The first player in Wizards history to appear in the Olympics for the USMNT, Beal will be making his first appearance on the heels of an All-NBA season.
Beal will be joined by Prince George’s County native and Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant as well as DeMatha High School product Jerami Grant, who currently plays for the Detroit Pistons. Wizards teammate and 2019 first-round pick Rui Hachimura will represent Japan in a return to his native country.
On the women’s side, the Mystics will see four of their players take the court in Tokyo. Former WNBA MVP Tina Charles and All-Star guard Ariel Atkins will both suit up for Team USA with a chance to face both Emma Meesseman (Belgium) and Leilani Mitchell (Australia) depending on how the tournament shakes out. Leading the way for the USWNT will be head coach Dawn Staley, whose illustrious basketball career includes a stint at UVA as a college player.
Originally born in Norfolk, Virginia, lightweight boxer Keyshawn Davis moved to Alexandria as a teenager with his sights set on training for the Tokyo Olympics. Though he’s since moved to Texas, both Davis and his former Alexandria Boxing Club teammate Troy Isley, a middleweight, made the USA Olympic Boxing team after they were originally disqualified for going pro.
Katharine Holmes was born and raised in Washington, D.C., and began fencing at age nine. She got her high school diploma from National Cathedral School before attending Princeton, where she was a four-time NCAA All-American. Tokyo 2020 will represent Holmes’s second Olympics after placing fifth with the U.S. Women's Epee Team and 25th individually at Rio 2016.
McLean, Virginia, native Claire Collins is set to race for Team USA in the women’s 4- event, a 2,000-meter race with four rowers per boat each handling their own oar. The Princeton graduate won the varsity eight four straight years from 2016-19 while earning medals at the World Rowing Under 23 Championships in 2017 and 2018.
The only woman to represent the U.S. in the RSX class, windsurfer Farrah Hall was born and raised in Annapolis. She attended Broadneck High School before getting a degree in biology from St. Mary’s College. This will be her second time competing in the Olympics after placing 20th in Windsurfing RSX at London 2012.
Two members of the Washington Spirit will join the USWNT to get the stars and stripes back on the podium after a disappointing loss to Sweden in the quarterfinals five years ago. Defenders Kelley O’Hara and Emily Sonnett both made the squad, a first for Sonnett. O’Hara played for Team USA in both 2012 and 2016, helping win gold in ’12.
Few, if any, Americans enter the Olympics with a higher pedigree than Katie Ledecky, a five-time gold medalist. The world record holder for a multitude of freestyle events was born in D.C. and grew up in Bethesda, going to Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart. She will compete in four freestyle events in addition to relays.
Joining Ledecky in Tokyo will be Torrie Huske out of Arlington, Virginia, and Thomas Jefferson High School alumnus Andrew Seliskar. Huske qualified for the 100-meter butterfly while Seliskar will compete in the 4x200 meter freestyle relay.
Track and field
Noah Lyles, a graduate of T.C. Williams (since renamed Alexandria City High School), entered the Olympic qualifiers as a favorite to nab several bids to Tokyo. He finished with only one — the 200-meter dash — but did so with a world-leading time of 19.74 seconds to clinch his first Olympic berth. While Lyles represents the DMV in the Olympics’ shortest sprint, Maryland’s own and 2016 gold medalist Matthew Centrowitz will do so in the 1,500-meter event.
Nicole Yeargin was born and raised in the U.S. and graduated from Bishop McNamara, but her mother’s British heritage qualified her to run for the United Kingdom. She’ll represent Great Britain in the 400-meter event.
At 23 years old, D.C. native Taylor Knibb is the youngest woman that has ever qualified for theU.S. Olympic Triathlon Team. The graduate of Sidwell Friends School took gold at the 2021 World Triathlon Championship Series in May to secure her spot in the event, which includes a 1.5-kilometer swim, 40-kilometer bike ride and a 10-kilometer run.
Two gold medalists from Rio 2016 will be back on the Olympics stage this year to defend their respective titles. Good Counsel High School alumnus Kyle Snyder will represent the U.S. in the 97-kilogram weight class. Helen Maroulis, out of Magruder High School, is set to rep the red, white and blue as a 57-kilogram freestyle wrestler.