Tokyo Olympics

Tokyo Olympics: 50-Plus Athletes Represent Illinois, Indiana on Team USA

Meet the athletes with connections to Illinois and Indiana who are bringing it for Team USA during the Tokyo Olympics.

There are plenty of chances to cheer on incredible athletes from Illinois and Indiana during the Tokyo Olympics. Check out their incredible credentials and experience below as they compete for Team USA!


Eddy Alvarez

Midwest Connection: Former White Sox player

Insights: Alvarez currently plays for the Miami Marlins. He plays second baseman, third baseman and shortstop. Alvarez also competes in Speed Skating. He is recognized as the first Cuban-American male speed skater to make a U.S. Olympic Team.

Accomplishments: He was named an All-Star during his time with the Chicago White Sox. He was also SAL Mid-Season All-Star in 2015 when he played with the Kannapolis Intimidators. As a short track speed skate racer, Alvarez earned a silver medal in the 5000-meter relay short-track during the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi. He also placed 11th in the men’s 1000-meter and 19th in the men’s 1500-meter and 31st in the men’s 500-meter.

Social Media: InstagramTwitterFacebook

Tim Federowicz

Midwest Connection: Former Chicago Cubs catcher

Insights: Number 34, Federowicz, currently plays for the Los Angeles Dodgers. He attended the University of Carolina at Chapel Hill. Federowicz was picked up by the Boston Red Sox in Round 7 of the 2008 MLB draft.

Accomplishments: Federowicz exceeded rookie limits during his 2013 season. Throughout his professional career, he has accumulated a .192 batting average and a .241 on-base percentage.

Social Media: InstagramTwitter

Todd Frazier

Midwest Connection: Former Chicago White Sox third baseman

Insights: The current free agent was drafted by the Colorado Rockies in the 37th round in the 2004 MLB June Amateur Draft. He is married to former gymnast Jackie Frazier and they have three children. 

Accomplishments: During the WBSC Baseball Americas Qualifier, Frazier’ batting average was .400. Frazier helped his team to a 4-2 victory with a double, a home run, and a stolen base. That win secured the Olympic berth for the U.S. He averages a .763 OPS as a professional MLB player.

Social Media: InstagramTwitter

Edwin Jackson

Midwest Connection: Former Cubs and White Sox pitcher

Insights: Jackson was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the sixth round of the 2001 MLB June Amateur Draft. He’s played for 14 different clubs over his 17-year career. Jackson became the youngest Dodgers pitcher to win his first start and third youngest to start a game. He is currently a free agent.

Accomplishments: The German-born baseball player won the 2011 World Series with the St. Louis Cardinals. He was named an MLB All-Start in 2009 and Futures Game Selection in 2003.

Social Media: InstagramTwitter

David Robertson

Midwest Connection: Former White Sox pitcher

Insights: Robertson attended the University of Alabama and was drafted by the New York Yankees in the 17th round of the 2006 MLB June Amateur Draft. After the 2011 tornadoes in his hometown in Alabama, he and his wife, Erin, established the David and Erin Robertson Foundation to raise funds to donate toward relief efforts. Robertson currently stands as a free agent.

Accomplishments: The baseball player won the 2009 World Series Championship with the New York Yankees. In 2011, he was an MLB All-Star and in 2017 he won gold in the World Championship.

Social Media: InstagramTwitter


Zach LaVine

Midwest Connection: Plays for the Chicago Bulls

Insights: LaVine attended UCLA for one season before being selected in the first round, 13th overall, by the Minnesota Timberwolves in the 2014 NBA Draft. After three years with the team, he completed four more years with the Chicago Bulls. He now plays guard for the Bulls. 

Accomplishments: The NBA player made a single-season Chicago Bulls franchise record with 183 3-point field goals in the 2019-2020 season. He is now one of only four Chicago Bulls players in team history to score 1,500 points or more within the team's first 60 games of a campaign, joining Michael Jordan, Bob Love and Reggie Theus. LaVine is also a two-time Slam Dunk Champion, in 2015 and 2016. He became the fourth player ever to win consecutive Slam Dunk Contests after winning in 2016. 

Social Media: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook

The third time was the charm for Evanston native Tori Franklin, as she is preparing for her trip to the Olympics after securing her spot in the triple jump after a year that saw her overcome plenty of adversity.


Skylar Diggins-Smith

Midwest Connection: Originally from South Bend, Indiana

Insights: Diggins-Smith plays guard for Phoenix Mercury. She graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 2013 where she helped them to a 130-20 record. She made four NCAA Tournament appearances during her time in Notre Dame. Those times included three Final Four appearances and one Sweet 16. 

Accomplishments: Diggins-Smith has earned multiple gold medals, in the 2012 FIBA 3x3 World Championship, the 2011 World University Games, the 2009 FIBA U12 World Championship and the 2008 FIBA Americas U18 Championship. She was part of the All-WNBA first team in 2014 where she was also named the WNBA Most Improved Player that year. Most recently she was part of the All-WNBC second team of 2020.

Social Media: Twitter

Jewell Loyd

Midwest Connection: Originally from Lincolnwood, Illinois

Insights: Loyd plays guard for the Seattle Storm. She graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 2015 where she helped her team compile a 108-6 record. She also competed in three NCAA Final Fours and was voted ESPNW National Player of the Year in 2015. She has one older brother, Jarryd, who played basketball at Valparaiso University and played professionally overseas. Loyd also played tennis and soccer. 

Accomplishments: Loyd was named NCAA Notre Dame Regional Most Valuable Player and ACC Tournament MVP in 2014. She was the No. 1 draft pick by the Seattle Storm in 2015. She has earned two WNBA titles in 2018 and 2020. In 2016, she was All-WNBA second team and in 2018 and 2019, she was WNBA All-Star.

Social Media: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook

Olympic hurdler David Kendziera is headed to the Tokyo Games this month, backed with plenty of support from his Chicago-area hometown.

Stefanie Dolson

Midwest Connection: Plays for Chicago Sky

Insights: Dolson is the center for the Chicago Sky. She played college basketball at the University of Connecticut where she majored in communication sciences. During her time at Connecticut, she aided her team to a 144-11 record and in the 2013 and 2014 NCAA championships. She was then drafted sixth overall by the Washington Mystics in the 2014 WNBA Draft. 

Accomplishments: Dolson is a two-time WNBA All-Star in 2017 and 2015. She has earned a total of three gold medals, the 2019 FIBA AmeriCup, the 2011 FIBA U19 World Cup and the 2010 FIBA Americas U18 Championship.

Social Media: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook


Chloe Dygert Owen: Road

Midwest Connection: Originally from Brownsburg, Indiana

Insight: 24-year-old Owen has seven world championships under her belt going into the Tokyo Olympics. In high school, she was sidelined from her first passion, basketball, with an ACL injury. While recovering from surgery, Owen turned to cycling and found a new love. When Owen is not racing, she enjoys her cats and listening to Michael Jackson from her pink couch, according to her website.

Achievements: Owen was the first American woman to receive the individual gold medals at the 2015 UCI Juniors Road World Championships in the under 18 category. She and the USA Cycling Team won the team pursuit at the World Championship in March 2016, becoming the first in USA Cycling history. In Rio, her team earned silver medals, as well. Owen also won gold medals at the 2017 UCI Track World Championships. In 2018, she set a world record time in the qualifying round of the 3000 individual pursuit, then broke her own record that same evening.

Social Media: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook

Hannah Roberts: BMX

Midwest Connection: Originally from South Bend, Indiana

Insight: Roberts began riding at the age of 9, according to Team USA, in the footsteps of her cousin, who was a professional BMX rider. After recovering from a fractured vertebra, she entered her first competition in 2012. The 19-year-old enjoys traveling, filming, editing and meeting new people.

Achievements: In her two years participating in the world championships, she won a gold medal in 2017 and a bronze medal in 2018 -- both for the freestyle category. In 2018, she placed 2nd in the World Cup overall rankings for freestyle.

Social Media: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook

Felicia Stancil

Midwest Connection: Originally from Antioch, Illinois 

Insights: Stancil began cycling when she was 4 years old. She considers her most monumental memory when she won her first world title in the Netherlands when she was 9 years old. Stancil graduated from Marian University in 2018 with her degree in exercise science. 

Accomplishments: In 2015, Stancil placed first in the USA Cycling Collegiate BMX National Championships. In 2013, she earned a gold medal in the UCI Junior BMX World Championship.

Social Media: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook

When Felicia Stancil hits the track in Tokyo, fans might notice a little something extra on her helmet.

Adrian Hegyvary: Track Cycling 

Midwest Connection: Originally from Chicago

Insights: Hegyvary is married to New Zealand Olympic cyclist Rushlee Buchanan and now splits his time between Ashville, North Caroline, and Cambridge, New Zealand. He has citizenship in Hungary and can speak Spanish and French. 

Accomplishments: The former Hungarian competitor has earned national titles for both Hungary and the United States. He participated in the 2018 and 2019 World Championships. His top finish was in the 2019 scratch race where he finished in 14th place.

Social Media: Instagram


Andrew Capobianco: 3M Synchronized and Individual 3M

Midwest Connection: Attends Indiana University

Insights: Capobianco started diving in 2011. As a seventh grader, he broke a 22-year-old Nassau County high school diving record. His favorite dive is 5237D on 10-meter, and his favorite diver is Russia’s Dmitri Sautin. He trains four hours a day, six days a week, but when he is not diving, Capobianco enjoys gymnastics, skiing and trampolining.   

Accomplishments: In the 2019 World Championship, Copabianco placed eighth in the synchronized 3-meter and earned bronze in a mixed team event. In 2017
at the World Championship, he placed 10th in the mixed synchronized 10-meter. He is also a 2018 World Cup team member and a five-time junior national champion

Social Media: Instagram, Twitter

Jessica Parratto: 10M Synchronized Platform

Midwest Connection: Attended Indiana University 

Insights: Parratto started diving when she was 5 years old. Previously, she also participated in gymnastics, swimming and soccer. Now, she is considered one of the top 10-meter platform divers in the country. Her favorite dive is 5253B. 

Accomplishments: In the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, Parratto placed 10th in the individual 10-meter and seventh in the synchronized 10-meter. She was a World Cup team member in 2014, 2016 and 2018. 

Social Media: Instagram, Twitter


Lee Kiefer

Midwest Connection: Originally from Lexington, Kentucky; attended the University of Notre Dame

Insights: Attending her third Olympics in 2021, Kiefer is the most decorated women's foil fencer in U.S. history, according to the Team USA website. At the age of 17, she won individual bronze at the 2011 Senior World Championships. After wining four NCAA Championships for the University of Notre Dame, she transferred to the University of Kentucky Medical School in 2017. In 2019, she married men's foil fencer Gerek Meinhardt, who was also her teammate at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, as well as at Notre Dame. Kiefer's siblings and father were also award-winning fencers.

Accomplishments: Kiefer has led the U.S. Women's Foil Team to a silver medal in 2017, a gold in 2018 and a bronze in 2019. At the Senior World Championships, she won bronze and silver medals for her team, as well as a bronze individually. Kiefer earned nine gold medals for both her team and individually at the Pan American Championships from 2010 to 2019. At the Junior World Championships, she won a combination of gold, silver and bronze medals for both her team and individually over a span of five years.

Social Media: Instagram, Facebook

Eliza Stone

Midwest Connection: Originally from Chicago

Insights: Stone graduated from Princeton University in 2013. Her full name is Anne-Elizabeth Stone. Her two siblings, Robert and Gracie, also competed in fencing for Princeton. She began fencing at age 9 after her father saw a flier for a fencing club in a pizza restaurant in New York. Stone served as a volunteer assistant coach for the men’s fencing team at Princeton after graduation.

Accomplishments: In 2018, Stone earned bronze as an individual at the World Championship. She has earned four gold medals total at the World Championship. In 2011, Stone placed second in NCAA Fencing Championships, in 2012 she placed third and in 2013 she placed first.

Social Media: Instagram

Mariel Zagunis

Midwest Connection: Attended University of Notre Dame

Insights: Zagunis is the most decorated fencer in the history of the United States with multiple medals. Both her parents were Olympians. They were rowers on the 1976 U.S. team. Some of her other hobbies include cooking, running and gardening.  

Accomplishments: Zagunis is a four-time Olympian, competing in 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2016. She is also a four-time medalist, earning two gold medals and two bronze. She made history in 2004 when she became the first U.S fencer to win an Olympic gold medal in 100 years when she was only 19.  

Social Media: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook

Courtney Hurley

Midwest Connection: Attended University of Notre Dame

Insights: Hurley is a four-time All-American First Team selection. She continues to be coached by her father, Bob Hurley. When she graduated from Notre Dame in 2013, she earned her degree in film, television and theater. Her older sister, Kelley, also qualified to represent Team USA fencing. 

Accomplishments: The two-time Olympian competed for Team USA in 2012 and 2016. In the London 2012 Olympic Games, she was a member of the first U.S. Women's Epee Team to win a medal, bringing back bronze. During the 2013 World Championship, she placed in 11th place, earning her top finish in the global competition.

Social Media: Instagram

Kelley Hurley

Midwest Connection: Attended University of Notre Dame

Insights: Hurley earned her degree in art/pre-med when she graduated from Notre Dame in 2010. She qualified for her first U.S. Olympic Team in 2008 as the only women’s epee fencer from the U.S. Her younger sister, Courtney, also qualified to represent in the Team USA fencing team in 2012 and 2016 and will be joining her again in Tokyo. They are both coached by their dad, Bob Hurley.

Accomplishments: Hurley is a three-time Olympian, representing Team USA in 2008, 2012 and 2016. She earned an Olympic bronze medal in the London 2012 Olympic Games, where she was a member of the first U.S. Women's Epee Team to win a medal.

Social Media: Instagram

Nick Itkin

Midwest Connection: Attending University of Notre Dame 

Insights: Itkin is currently a sophomore at Notre Dame studying finance. Some of his hobbies include athletics, economics and music. He can also speak Russian. 

Accomplishments: Itkin was a back-to-back NCAA men’s individual foil fencing champion in 2018 and 2019. In 2018, he became the first U.S. fencer to win individual junior world, USA fencing Division 1 and NCAA Championship titles the same season. 

Social Media: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook

Gerek Meinhardt

Midwest Connection: Attended the University of Notre Dame 

Insights: Meinhardt began fencing at the age of 9. He became the first U.S. men’s team fencer to ever qualify for the cadet, junior and senior world teams in the same year. He was also the youngest athlete to compete on the U.S. Olympic fencing team and the youngest member of the U.S. Olympic Team in any sport in 2008. Meinhardt graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a bachelors in information technology management and master’s in business analytics and marketing.

Accomplishments: Meinhardt is a three-time Olympian, representing the U.S. in 2008, 2012 and 2016. He was also a bronze medalist in 2016 and placed 10th in 2008 and fourth in 2012. Meinhardt is the first U.S. man to win three senior world championship medals in 2010, 2015 and 2013. 

Social Media: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook


Kent Farrington

Midwest connection: Originally from Chicago

Insights: The Chicago native began riding at the age of 8 after a picture of his mother on a horse sparked his interest in the sport. Farrington grew up skateboarding and now some of his interests include architecture and interior design.

Accomplishments: Farrington is a silver medalist, earning that place with his team in the 2016 Rio Olympics. That Olympic year he also placed fifth individually. In 2014, he earned bronze with his team in the World Championship. 

Social Media: InstagramTwitterFacebook


Evita Griskenas: Rhythmic Individual

Midwest Connection: Originally from Orland Park, Illinois

Insights: Griskenas is part of the North Shore Rhythmic Gymnastics Center. Both of her parents have an athletic background. Her father placed first in the World Fitness Championships in 1997 and 1999. Her mother earned fifth and fourth place in fitness aerobics in the World Fitness Championship in 1997 and 1999. Some of her hobbies include practicing calligraphy, writing, reading and dancing.

Accomplishments: Griskenas placed seventh with her team in the 2019 World Championship and eighth in all-around and ball. She was given the 2019 Pan Am Sports NextGen Female Athlete Award. In 2018, she earned the U.S. ball champion and all-around and hoop silver medal.  

Social Media: Instagram, Facebook

Meet Evita Griskenas, the 20-year-old rhythmic gymnast from Orland Park preparing to compete at the Tokyo Olympics. Griskenas is one of nine local Olympians from the North Shore Rhythmic Gymnastics Center, but only she and one other teammate will compete individually in the sport.

Yelyzaveta Merenzon: Rhythmic Group

Midwest Connection: Originally from Buffalo Grove, Illinois

Insights: Merenzon began gymnastics in 2004. She is part of the North Shore Rhythmic Gymnastics Center and says her favorite events are ball and clubs. 

Accomplishments: Merenzon competed with the senior group at the 2017 and 2019 World Championships. In 2019, she was a Pan American Games all-around and 5 balls silver medalist in the senior group.

Social Media: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook

Nicole Sladkov: Rhythmic Group

Midwest Connection: Originally from Vernon Hills, Illinois

Insights: Sladkov began gymnastics in 2006. She is part of the North Shore Rhythmic Gymnastics Center and says her favorite events are clubs and ribbon.

Accomplishments: Sladkov competed with the senior group at the World Championships in 2017, 2018 and 2019. She is a 2019 Pan American Games all-around and 5 balls silver medalist in the senior group. 

Social Media: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook

Ever since she could walk, Olympian Nicole Sladkov remembers being with her mother, learning rhythmic gymnastics.

Laura Zeng: Rhythmic Individual

Midwest Connection: Originally from Libertyville, Illinois

Insights: Zeng began gymnastics in 2007. She is part of the North Shore Rhythmic Gymnastics Center. Outside of the gym, some of her hobbies include reading, cooking, watching television and movies and dancing.  

Accomplishments: The 2016 Olympian placed eleventh after competing that year. She has participated in four World Championships earning fifth in ribbon in 2019 and 10th all-around. She became the first U.S rhythmic gymnast to win a medal at an Olympic or Youth Olympic Games.

Social Media: Instagram, Facebook


Nefeli Papadakis: Women’s 78kg 

Midwest Connection: Originally from Gurnee, Illinois

Insights: The Gurnee native was introduced to judo when she was 4 years old. She and her family run a dojo where she teaches and coaches kids twice a week. Papadakis currently attends College of Lake County where she plans to complete her Associate’s Degree after Tokyo.  

Accomplishments: The judo fighter has earned the 2018, 2017, 2015 and 2014 Junior World Championships. In 2019 she earned her first World Championship in Tokyo. She has also won the 2015 and 2013 Cadet World Championships. 

Social Media: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook


Alie Rusher: Quadruple Sculls

Midwest Connection: Originally from Glenview, Illinois

Insights: Rusher majored in Human Biology at Stanford University. She was born in London, England, and now teaches sailing in Wisconsin with her sister, Kay. Kay was one of Rusher’s team members at Stanford. Her mother Cindy was a national champion in 1984 and rowed in both 1988 and 1992 Olympics and earned a silver medal in women’s four in 1992. Her father is a member of the Harvard Hall of Fame and was a three-time collegiate national champion as well as a two-time Olympic rower earning bronze in 1988 and1992.

Accomplishments: Rusher was named first team All-America by the CRCA and the Pac-12 All Academic first team. She received bronze at U23 Worlds for the US in the women’s eight and finished fourth in the varsity eight at the NCAA Championships.

Social Media: Instagram


Lauren Doyle

Midwest Connection: Originally from Boody, Illinois

Insights: Doyle graduated from Eastern Illinois University in 2014 with a degree in marketing. She was a two-sport athlete during her time there, competing in both rugby and track and field.

Accomplishments: Doyle earned fifth place with her team in the 2016 Olympic Games. She also earned silver in the 2015 Pan American Games and first in the 2015 NACRA Sevens Championship.

Social Media: Twitter, Facebook


Maggie Shea

Midwest Connection: Originally from Wilmette, Illinois

Insight: Shea grew up sailing on Lake Michigan with her family and fell in love with being on the water. She joined Chicago Yacht Club's junior sailing program and competed in high school before taking on the Laser Radial 2008 Olympic Trials her senior year. Shea graduated from Connecticut College in 2011 in Political Science where she was sailing team captain and led the group to national rankings.

Achievements: Shea competed in the Laser Radial 2008 Olympic Trials before attending college. She led her sailing team to a 2nd place finish at ICSA Women's Nationals and a 4th place finish at Women's Singlehanded Nationals. In 2009, she was recognized as an All-American Honorable mention and NEISA Sportswoman of the Year in 2011.

Social Media: Instagram, Twitter

Maggie Shea and Stephanie Roble once saw each other as worthy competition. That may come as a surprise to many given the dynamic sailing duo is now headed to the Tokyo Olympics as teammates in the same boat.


Casey Krueger

Midwest Connection: Plays for the Chicago Red Stars and originally from Naperville

Insights: The Naperville native earned her bachelors and master’s degree from Florida State University. Apart from soccer, she also competed in track and field where she became a two-time state champion in the 800-meter and the 400-meter dash. Krueger is now a defender for the Chicago Red Stars.

Accomplishments: Kruegar was drafted fifth overall by the Chicago Red Stars in 2016. She  was a member of the U.S. U-20 WNT that won the CONCACAF qualifying tournament to go to the 2010 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup. In college, she was named to the All-ACC Academic Team during her time at FSU.

Social Media: InstagramTwitter

Alyssa Naeher

Midwest Connection: Plays for Chicago Red Stars

Insights: Naeher graduated from Penn State University in 2009, majoring in Kinesiology. She is the goalkeeper for Chicago Red Stars and Team USA. In 2008 she aided Team USA to the 2008 U-20 FIFA Women’s World Cup title, earning the Golden Glove as the tournament’s best goalkeeper. Her favorite professional sports team is the New England Patriots.

Accomplishments: She was named the 2014 NWSL Goalkeeper of the Year, setting a league record with 106 saves. She placed fifth with her team in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. She also earned a gold medal in the 2015 World Championship.

Social Media: Instagram, Twitter

Julie Ertz

Midwest Connection: Plays for the Chicago Red Stars

Insights: The Chicago Red Stars defender graduated from Santa Clara University in 2014 with a Communications degree. In 2014, she also signed her first professional contract with the Chicago Red Stars after being selected with the third overall pick in the NWSL Draft.

Accomplishments: Ertz was an Olympic athlete in 2016. She participated in the 2015 and 2019 World Championship. She was also selected to the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup All-Star Team. 

Social Media: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook

Tierna Davidson

Midwest Connection: Plays for Chicago Red Stars

Insights: Davidson is a defender for Team USA. At 20 years old, she became the youngest player for USA’s 2019 World Cup team. Before becoming a professional soccer player, Davidson dreamed of becoming an astronaut as a kid. 

Accomplishments: In 2017, Davidson won a national championship with Stanford. She ended up leaving college one year early and became the first-round draft pick for the Chicago Red Stars.

Social Media: Instagram, Twitter 


Michael Brinegar: 800m freestyle and 1500m freestyle 

Midwest Connection: Originally from Bloomington, Indiana

Insights: Brinegar is attending the University of Indiana and plans to graduate in 2022. His mother and brother were both swimmers as well. His mother, Jennifer, swam for Indiana and was a member of the 1976 Olympic team. Before swimming, Brinegar played baseball, basketball and soccer. He started swimming when he was 6 years old.

Accomplishments: Brinegar participated in the World Championships in 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021. In the 2019 FINA World Championships, he placed 18th and earned a gold medal in mixed team. He has also previously earned a silver and bronze medal during the World Junior Championships. 

Social Media: Instagram

Drew Kibler: 4x200m freestyle relay

Midwest Connection: Originally from Carmel, Indiana

Insights: Kibler, soon to be a senior at the University of Texas in Austin, is majoring in psychology. During his free time he enjoys fine art photography, drawing, painting and hiking.

Accomplishments: In 2019, Kibler was the NCAA champion in the 800 freestyle relay. He is a three-time All-American, a two-time honorable mention All-American and a three-time Big 12 champion. In 2018-19 he was Big 12 Conference Men's Newcomer of the Year.

Social Media: Instagram, Twitter

Lilly King: 100m breaststroke and 200m breaststroke 

Midwest Connection: Originally from Evansville, Indiana

Insights: King earned her bachelor's degree in physical education when she graduated from Indiana University in 2019. With her degree, she aspires to be a teacher or a coach. King began swimming when she was 7 years old. 

Accomplishments: King earned two gold medals during her 2016 Olympics debut. The first was in the 4x100-meter medley and the other was in the 100-meter breast. She also placed twelfth in the 200-meter breast. Overall, she has earned 11 gold medals and two silver medals in the World Championship. 

Social Media: Instagram, Twitter

Jake Mitchell: 400m freestyle

Midwest Connection: Originally from Carmel, Indiana

Insights: Mitchell will be a sophomore at the University of Michigan where he is majoring in biology. In 2019, he represented the U.S. in the FINA World Junior Championship.

Accomplishments: The swimmer was recognized as Big Ten Freshman of the Year in 2021. This same year he was, for the second time, the Big Ten Champion in the 500-yard freestyle and 800-yard freestyle relay. He was also All-Big Ten first team. When he represented the U.S. in the FINA World Junior Championships he won gold on the 4x200-meter freestyle relay and took fourth in the 400-meter freestyle.

Social Media: Instagram, Twitter

Ryan Murphy: 100m backstroke and 200m backstroke

Midwest Connection: Born in Palos Heights, Illinois

Insights: Murphy graduated from the University of California Berkeley in 2017. Some of his hobbies include sailing, home improvement projects and watching sports. His favorite professional sports teams are the Chicago Bulls, the Chicago Cubs and Jacksonville Jaguars.

Accomplishments: Murphy became a gold medalist at the Olympic Games in Rio 2016. He earned gold in the 4x100 medley, the 100-meter backstroke and the 200-meter backstroke. In the World Championship, he’s earned 16 medals total: seven gold, eight silver and one bronze.

Social Media: Instagram, Twitter

Blake Pieroni: 4x100m freestyle relay

Midwest Connection: Originally from Chesterton, Indiana

Insights: Pieroni graduated from Indiana University in 2018 where he earned his degree in biology. Some of his interests include golfing, fishing, snowboarding and playing paintball.

Accomplishments: Pieroni is a 2016 Olympian. He earned a gold medal in the 4x100-meter freestyle. He placed eighth in the 2016 NCAA Championships in the 200-yard freestyle. He also placed third in the 200-meter freestyle and eleventh in the 100-meter freestyle during the 2015 U.S. National Championships. In the 2015 NCAA Championship he placed fourth in the 200-year freestyle. 

Social Media: Instagram, Twitter

Olivia Smoliga: 4x100m freestyle relay

Midwest Connection: Originally from Glenview, Illinois

Insights: Smoliga represented the United States in the 2016 Olympic Games. She is a University of Georgia graduate, earning her psychology degree in 2017. In 2013, she was named Swimming World Magazine’s Female High School Swimmer of the Year. 

Accomplishments: In her 2016 Olympics debut, Smoliga became a gold medalist as part of the 4x100m medley. She also placed sixth in the 100-meter back. On the World Championship stage, Smoliga has earned 15 medals: 12 gold, one silver and two bronze. Her first gold was in 2012 and her most recent was in 2019 in the 50-meter back. 

Social Media: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook

Jordan Wilimovsky: Open water

Midwest Connection: Attended Northwestern University 

Insights: Wilimovsky began swimming when he was 9 years old because he was declined admission into summer camp when he was unable to swim a 1:50 in the 100-yard freestyle. He ended up playing water polo and surfed before focusing on swimming. Wilimovsky graduated from Northwestern in 2016 with a political science degree and aspires to continue his education at business school. 

Accomplishments: The Olympic athlete placed fifth in the 10K open water marathon. He has also raced in the same event for the World Championship. He participated in 2013, 2015, 2017 and 2019, most recently placing fifth for the 10K in 2019. In the World Championships he has earned three medals, one gold in 2015 10K and two silver in 2017 when he raced in the 10K and the 5K team relay. 

Social Media: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook


Caroline Dolehide

Midwest Connection: Originally from Hinsdale, Illinois, and attends Indiana University East

Insights: Dolehide started playing tennis at the age of 5. She was committed to attend UCLA before deciding to play professionally. She comes from a family of tennis players. Her older sister, Courtney, won a NCAA title with her team at UCLA and coached women's tennis at the University of Texas and is currently coaching at Georgetown for men’s and women’s tennis. Her younger sister, Stephanie, is committed to play tennis at West Point. 

Accomplishments: In 2017, Dolehide earned first Top 200 singles year-end ranking finishing at number 148 and Top 100 doubles ranking at number 99. In 2018, she had her second consecutive year ranking top 200 singles. Dolehide is currently ranked at number 44 in singles and 164 in doubles. She won two singles titles and four doubles titles on the International Tennis Federation circuit.

Social Media: Instagram

Rajeev Ram

Midwest Connection: Originally from Carmel, Indiana

Insights: Ram graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2006. He began playing tennis when he was 4 years old. Outside of tennis, he enjoys playing ping pong, listening to music and playing golf. Ram also does volunteer work for his charity, EntouRaj for Kids.

Accomplishments: The Olympian earned a silver medal in the 2016 Rio Games in mixed doubles with Venus Williams. He has also won the mixed doubles at the 2019 and 2021 Australian Open. During his collegiate career, Ram helped Illinois to a 32-0 season and helped win the NCAA team title.

Social Media: InstagramTwitterFacebook


Gwen Berry: Hammer Throw

Midwest Connection: Attended Southern Illinois University

Insights: Berry graduated from Illinois State University in 2011 with a degree in psychology and criminal justice and is one of several mothers attending the Games this summer. When not on the track, she enjoys reading and cooking. Berry drew attention recently after her third place finish at the U.S. Olympic track and field trials when she turned her back away as the Star Spangled Banner played. She then put a shirt over her head that read "Activist Athlete."

Accomplishments: This summer will be Berry’s second time competing in the Olympics after ranking 14th at the 2016 Rio Games in hammer throw. She was also an alternate for the 2012 London Olympics. In 2019, Berry earned a gold medal at the Pan American Games. At the USA Indoor Championships in 2013, 2014 and 2016, Berry won gold medals in all three competitions. 

Social Media: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook

Kelsey Card: Discus

Midwest connection: Originally from Springfield, Illinois

Insights: Card, a discus thrower, is a seven-time First-Team All-American. Card graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 2016 where she majored in human development and family studies.

Accomplishments: In 2016, Card placed 25th in the Rio Olympics discus. That same year she became the NCAA outdoor discus champion. The year prior, in 2015, she placed seventh in the 2015 Pan American Games.

Social Media: InstagramTwitterFacebook

Rachel Dincoff: Discus Throw

Midwest Connection: From Waterloo, Indiana 

Insights: Dincoff began her college career at Purdue Fort Wayne, later transferring to Auburn University. She was a Summit League Champion in shot put but ended up excelling in discus. After she graduated from Auburn, she made her way to Alabama training with coach Doug Reynolds. 

Accomplishments: The Auburn graduate finished third in the U.S. Olympics Trials, making her the first ever female from Auburn to represent the United States in discus. Dincoff is a four-time outdoor All-American at Auburn. She finished fourth at nationals in the selection meet for the World Championships. 

Social Media: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook

Tori Franklin: Triple Jump

Midwest Connection: From Evanston, Illinois 

Insights: Franklin attended Michigan State University. Before focusing on triple jump, she played basketball in high school. She is the current USATF indoor and outdoor triple jump American record-holder. Some of her hobbies include yoga and modeling. 

Accomplishments: In 2018, Franklin placed eighth indoor triple jump at the World Athletics Championship. She is a two-time USATF indoor triple jump champion and a NACAC triple jump bronze medalist in 2018. In 2014, she was the NACAC U23 triple jump champion.

Social Media: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook

David Kendziera: 400-meter Hurdles

Midwest Connection: From Mount Prospect, Illinois 

Insights: A Cook County native, Kendziera graduated from the University of Illinois. He became the 29th Illini track and field athlete to go to an Olympic Games. Apart from track and field, some of his hobbies include playing football, basketball and hockey, watching movies and listening to music. 

Accomplishments: Kendziera was a 10-time All-American at Illinois. He is a four-time NCAA medalist. He was recognized in 2017 as Big Ten Track Athlete of the year and was the 2017 Big Ten 400-meter hurdles champion. He holds the Illinois 400-meter hurdles record. 

Social Media: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook

Sandi Morris: Pole Vault

Midwest Connection: Born in Downers Grove, Illinois 

Insights: Morris began competing at a college level at the University of North Carolina. She competed there for two seasons and transferred to the University of Arkansas where she graduated in 2015 with a broadcast journalism degree. Some of her hobbies include filming and editing, singing and playing acoustic guitar and violin.

Accomplishments: The four-time First-Team All-American competed in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. She placed second that year, earning a silver medal. She has also competed in the World Championship where she most recently won a silver medal in 2019. She has competed in the outdoor pole vault World Championship in 2015, 2017 and 2019 and indoor in 2016 and 2018. Morris has accumulated four world championship medals throughout her career. She earned gold in 2018 and silver in 2019, 2017 and 2016.

Social Media: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook

Galen Rupp: Marathon

Midwest Connection: Won the 2017 Bank of America Chicago Marathon 

Insights: Rupp is married to Keara Rupp and they have three children. He graduated from University of Oregon in 2009 with a degree in business. At Oregon, he was given the inaugural Bowerman Award. He also won five NCAA titles his senior year. 

Accomplishments: The three-time Olympian won two medals. In 2016, he placed fifth in 10,000-meter, bronze in the marathon, and in 2012 he won silver in 10,000-meter and seventh in 5,000-meter. In 2008, he placed thirteenth in the 10,000-meter. In the 2015 World Championship he placed fifth in the 5,000-meter and in the 10,000-meter. His top finish in the World Championship was fourth in 2013 in the 10,000-meter. He is also a seven-time NCAA All-American at Oregon. 

Social Media: Instagram, Twitter

Molly Seidel: Marathon

Midwest Connection: Attended the University of Notre Dame

Insights: Seidel graduated from Notre Dame in 2016. She volunteers with Girls Gotta Run, a foundation that provides scholarships to teenage girls who run, in Bekoji, Ethiopia. Seidel also speaks Spanish and enjoys playing the banjo and traveling.

Accomplishments: The marathon runner finished second place in the Olympic Team Trials and will be making her debut in the Olympic Games. Seidel is a three-time NCAA champion. She finished first in the 2016 3,000-meter race and the 5,000-meter and in 2015 the 10,000-meter.  

Social Media: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook

Darryl Sullivan: High Jump

Midwest Connection: From Marion, Illinois 

Insights: The University of Tennessee graduate is the first track and field athlete in the history of Tennessee to qualify for the Olympics in the high jump. He equaled his lifetime-best with a clearance of 2.33 meters and took second place at the trials. Sullivan is also the recipient of the William Pettway, Jr. Athletic Scholarship Endowment. 

Accomplishments: Sullivan's mark of 2.33 meters currently ranks tied for third in the world during the 2021 outdoor season. He is a four-time All-American and a 2021 Outdoor Sec silver medalist and All-Sec Second Team.

Social Media: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook

Fans of Olympic high jumper Darryl Sullivan will surely be watching to see just how high the Illinois native can go in Tokyo, but there's something else you might want to watch for.

Kara Winger: Javelin Throw

Midwest Connection: Attended Purdue University 

Insights: The Washington native graduated from Purdue University in 2009 with her bachelors in nutrition, fitness and health. She became Purdue’s first female athlete to qualify for three Olympic Games. She then earned her masters in accounting in 2016 at DeVry University through their scholarship program with the U.S. Olympic Committee. Some of her hobbies include baking and playing piano.

Accomplishments: Winger is a three-time Olympian, representing the United States in 2016, 2012 and 2008. In Rio 2016 she placed thirteenth, in London 2012 she placed 31st and in Beijing 2008 she placed 41st. She competed in the World Championship in 2009, 2011 and 2015, with her best finish in eight in 2015. 

Social Media: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook

Kevin McDowell: Triathlon 

Midwest Connection: Originally from Geneva, Illinois 

Insights: McDowell attended the University of Colorado Colorado Springs. He grew up participating in USA Triathlon’s youth and junior elite triathlon circuit as part of the Chicago-based Multisport Madness Triathlon Team. He was USA Triathlon’s Junior Athlete of the Year in 2009 and 2010. He also represented Team USA at the 2010 Youth Olympic Games in Singapore, where he earned silver in the individual event and bronze in the Mixed Relay. 

Accomplishments: The seven-time World Triathlon Cup medalist has earned three silvers and four bronzes. In 2021 he placed 11th at the World Triathlon Championship Series Yokohama on May 15. He took sixth at the World Triathlon Cup Huatulco on June 13. This will be his first appearance at the Olympic Games. 

Social Media: Instagram, Twitter

Zach Ziemek: Decathlon

Midwest connection: Originally from Elmhurst, Ziemek grew up in Itasca

Insights: The Illinois native graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2016. He earned his degree in nautical engineering. Ziemek is a four-time NCAA All-American and became the NCAA Champion in 2016.

Accomplishments: Competing in the decathlon, Ziemek placed seventh in Rio 2016 Olympic Games. In the 2015 World Championship he placed 15th.

Social Media: Instagram


Kelsey Robinson: Volleyball

Midwest Connection: Originally from Elmhurst, Robinson grew up in Bartlett

Insights: Robinson plays outside hitter for the USA Volleyball team. She started playing indoor club volleyball at the age of 10 and continued her volleyball career at the University of Nebraska. She graduated in 2014 and started playing professionally overseas. She highlighted her life as an overseas professional athlete through her YouTube Channel. She is now engaged to professional beach volleyball player, Brian Cook.

Accomplishments: The volleyball player made her debut to the Olympics in Rio 2016 where she earned her first medal. She and her team earned bronze. She has also competed in the World Championship where she most recently placed fifth in 2018. In 2014, she earned gold.

Social Media: InstagramTwitterFacebook

Jordyn Poulter

Midwest Connection: Attended University of Illinois

Insights: Originally from Aurora, Colorado, Poulter led Illinois to the NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball Championship semifinals. Poulter played with the USA U23 Women’s National Team at the 2013 FIVB World Championship in Mexico and made her international debut in 2018 the Dominican Republic earning a gold medal with the team.

Accomplishments: Poulter was named best setter in 2019 NORCECA Women’s Continental Championship. She has also received the Honda Award Finalist in 2018 for the best collegiate volleyball player.

Social Media: Instagram, Twitter

Annie Drews

Midwest Connection: Originally from Elkhart, Indiana, and attended Purdue University

Insights: Some of Drews’ favorite activities include cooking, walking, games, reading, and driving her Jeep. She graduated from Purdue University with a degree in hospitality and tourism management in 2015. Drews started playing indoor club volleyball in 2008 with Network Juniors and concluded her youth club career with Northern Indiana Volleyball Academy. In 2017, she debuted with the U.S. Women’s National Team during the Pan American Cup.

Accomplishments: Drews was named most valuable player of the 2019 FIVB Volleyball Nations League after leading USA to gold, including a team-high 33 points against Brazil in the title match. She was chosen as the best opposite in 2019’s FIVB World Cup and selected AVCA All-American Second-Team in 2015 her senior year at Perdue. 

Social Media: Instagram, Twitter 

Michelle Bartsch-Hackley

Midwest Connection: Originally from Champaign, Illinois, and attended University of Illinois

Insights: Bartsch-Hackley started playing indoor volleyball in 2001 with Southwest Illinois Volleyball and continued with that club until college. She served as a student assistant coach at Illinois while getting her undergraduate in sport management. She began her professional career in Puerto Rico and is married to Corbin Hackley. 

Accomplishments: She was named most valuable player of the 2018 FIVB Volleyball Nations League after leading the U.S. to victory. She was also selected AVCA All-American Third Team in 2010 and 2011 and named AVCA Mideast Region Freshman of the Year. 

Social Media: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook


Thomas Jaeschke: Men’s Indoor

Midwest Connection: From Wheaton, Illinois

Insights: Jaeschke plays outside hitter. He attended Loyola and left his junior year in 2015 to play for Asseco Resovia, one of the leading teams in Poland’s professional league. At 22, he was the youngest member of the U.S. Olympic Men’s Volleyball Team in Rio de Janeiro.  

Accomplishments: In 2016, Jaeschke and his team earned a bronze medal in the Olympic Games. While he was at Loyola, he helped them win the 2014 and 2015 NCAA Men’s DI-II National Championships. He was also named the 2015 AVCA Player of the Year.

Social Media: Instagram, Twitter

Wheaton's own Thomas Jaeschke is heading for his second straight Olympics, but this time, things are very different.


Sarah Hildebrandt: Women's Freestyle 50kg/ 110 pounds

Midwest Connection: Native of Granger, Indiana

Insights: Hildebrandt enjoys reading and playing video games. She will now represent her Indiana hometown, which has a population of about 30,000, at the Tokyo Games.

Accomplishments: Hildebrandt captured her spot in Tokyo by virtue of finishing as the runner-up in her weight class at the Pan-American Olympic qualifier. She won the silver medal at the 2018 world championships in Budapest, and captured gold in the Pan-American Games in 2019.

Social Media: Twitter, Instagram

Tamyra Mensah-Stock: Women's Freestyle 68kg/ 149.75 pounds

Midwest Connection: Born in Chicago

Insight: Mensah-Stock narrowly missed punching her ticket to the 2016 Rio Games despite winning the Olympic Trials. She still traveled with the team to work as a practice partner, but now she'll be traveling as an Olympian.

Achievements: Mensah-Stock is the reigning women’s world champion in the 68-kilogram category. She captured gold in the 2019 Pan-American Games and became a Final X champion in both 2018 and 2019. She is also a three-time Senior World Team member and a 2018 Senior World bronze medalist.

Social Media: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook

Kayla Miracle: Women's Freestyle 62kg/ 136.5 pounds

Midwest Connection: From Culver, Indiana

Insights: Miracle attended high school at Culver Academy in Indiana, where she was a state qualifier competing against boys, according to her Team USA bio. She is the only girl ever to reach the IHSAA state finals while in high school, the Indy Star reports.

Accomplishments: Miracle won the US Open championship in 2017 and 2018. She won the silver medal in the 2020 Pan-American Olympic qualification tournament and was the 2019 Final X champion.

Social Media: Twitter, Instagram

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