The COVID-19 pandemic pushed back a number of celebratory events that the world has come to enjoy. From the Grammys to the NBA Finals, everything has been delayed in some way. The Tokyo Olympics were no exception.
With the COVID-19 pandemic taking millions of lives, the International Olympic Committee made the tough decision to delay the Summer Olympic Games by one year. As a result, hundreds of athletes were forced to take another year to train, prepare and put forth their best effort to be ready for the summer of 2021. Fortunately, the time has come for Simone Biles, Allyson Felix and so many other athletes will have the opportunity to compete for their sports highest prize, an Olympic gold medal.
Here is a list of Black athletes representing America at the Tokyo Olympics in July.
Since 2004, the United States has been dominant in both men's and women's basketball. The two teams have won a combine six gold medals at the last two Olympic Games. This year, the women's basketball program has an opportunity to bring home an additional media in three-on-three basketball.
Women's 3x3 Roster: Kelsey Plum, Allisha Gray, Katie Lou Samuelson
Men's Basketball Roster: Kevin Durant, Jayson Tatum, Damian Lillard, Devin Booker, Bradley Beal, Zach LaVine, Draymond Green, Bam Adebayo, Khris Middleton, Jrue Holiday, Jerami Grant
Women's Basketball Roster: Ariel Atkins, Tina Charles, Jewell Lloyd, A'ja Wilson, Brittney Griner, Chelsea Gray, Skylar Diggins-Smith, Napheesa Collier
For the second time, the Summer Olympic Games will allow professional boxers to compete. As a result, Keyshawn Davis and Troy Isley made the decision to take a detour from their professional careers to represent the United States in the upcoming Olympic Games. Together, Davis and Isley represent the country's best opportunity to win a gold medal in boxing in more than a decade. On the women's side, Rashida Ellis, Naomi Graham and Oshae Jones hope to continue the nation's streak of winning a gold medal at the last two Olympic Games.
Women's Boxing: Rashida Ellis, Naomi Graham, Oshae Jones
Men's Boxing: Keyshawn Davis, Troy Isley, Delante Johnson, Duke Ragan
Unfortunately, there is only one Black gymnast traveling to Tokyo to represent Team USA. Luckily, the one Black gymnast who is representing Team USA just happens to be the greatest gymnast to ever live. Once again, Biles will look to bring home a gold medal individually and for Team USA.
Women's Gymnastics Team: Simone Biles
Men's Gymnastics Team: N/A
After nearly a century away from the Olympic Games, women's rugby returned in Rio De Janeiro. In 2016, Team USA fell in the quarterfinals, but rose to number two in the world by 2019. Heading to Japan, Team USA has a shot to bring home its first gold medal in women's rugby.
Women's Rugby Roster: Naya Tapper, Cheta Emba, Kristen Thomas, Saskia Morgan
Men's Rugby Roster: Perry Baker, Carlin Isles, Marcus Fasitupe Tupuola, Kevon Williams
Florida native Zion Wright will be representing the US in skateboarding at the Tokyo Olympics.
The USA Women's Soccer Olympic team is looking for redemption in Tokyo, Japan. After entering the 2016 Summer Olympic Games as heavy favorites, Team USA fell to Sweden in the quarterfinals. Four years later, Crystal Dunn, Adriann French and company are looking to
Women's Soccer Roster: Crystal Dunn, Adriann French
After a 12 year break, softball is back in the Olympics. Unfortunately, it will not be featured at the 2024 Summer Olympic Games in Paris, France. Having won 11 of the last 14 Women's Softball World Cups, Team USA enters Tokyo, Japan as the heavy favorite.
Women's Softball Roster: Michelle Moultrie
Swimming & Diving
Given the historical relationship between pools, Black Americans, U.S. society and discrimination, many people may not tie swimmers and Black culture together. However, nothing could be further from the truth. There are a number of talented Black swimmers hopping into the pool in Tokyo, Japan. Most notably, Simone Manuel battled through depression and physical injuries to qualify for the 50-meter freestyle. Also, Natalie Hinds is making her Olympic dreams come true at 27 years old.
Women's Swimming Roster: Simone Manuel, Natalie Hinds
Women's Water Polo Roster: Ashleigh Johnson
Men's Swimming Roster: N/A
Paige McPherson will be heading back to the Olympics this year, representing the US in taekwondo. The Texas native previously took home the bronze medal in the sport.
Men's Taekwondo: N/A
Women's Taekwondo: Paige McPherson
The Tokyo Olympics will bring together some of the biggest stars in the world and present some of the best storylines at the Olympics. Naomi Osaka will look to bring home a gold medal to the host nation of Japan. Tennis star Serena Williams announced on. June 28 she would decline her spot on the tennis roster.
Weeks later on July 19 tennis champion Cori "Coco" Gauff announced she would not be attending the games after testing positive for COVID-19.
Men's Tennis Roster: N/A
Women's Tennis Roster: Cori "Coco" Gauff (Unable To Participate - COVID-19)
Track & Field
Team USA took a major blow heading into the 2021 Summer Olympic Games after Sha'Carri Richardson tested positive for cannabis and was barred from competing. Despite her absence, Allyson Felix, Teahna Daniels, Gabby Thomas and Javianne Oliver will attempt to bring home gold medals in the 100 meter dash, 200 meter dash and 4x100 meter relay.
Women's Track and Field Roster: Allyson Felix, Dalilah Muhammad, Kendra Harrison, Deja Young, Vashti Cunningham, Javianne Oliver, Teaha Daniels, Christina Clemons, Quanera Hayes, Wadeline Jonathas, Anavia Battle, Gwen Berry, Erica Bougard, Quanesha Burks, Anna Cockrell, Tara Davis, Kendall Ellis, Tori Franklin, English Gardner, Lynna Irby, Sally Kipyego, Taylor Manson, Sydney McLaughlin, Jasmine Moore, Athing Mu, Keturah Orji, Jessica Ramsey, Brittney Reese, Raevyn Rogers, Raven Saunders, Gabby Thomas, Aliphine, Tuliamuk, Kaylin Whitney, Kendall Williams, Ajeé Wilson
Men's Track and Field Roster: Abdi Abdirahman, Ronnie Baker, Kenny Bednarek, Chris Benard, Rai Benjamin, Hillary Bor, Trayvon Bromell, Paul Chelimo, Michael Cherry, Will Claye, Bryce Deadmon, Marquis Dendy, Cravon Gillespie, Elija Godwin, Grant Holloway, JuVaughn Harrison, Reggie Jagers, Isaiah Jewett, Fred Kerley, Benard Keter, Erriyon Knighton, Wil London, Noah Lyles, Sam Mattis, Steffen McCarter, Shelby McEwen, Michael Norman, Vernon Norwood, Yared Nuguse, Daniel Roberts, Randolph Ross, Garrett Scantling, Donald Scott, Kenny Selmon, Trevor Stewart, Darryl Sullivan, Micah Williams, Alex Young
Team USA has been on the door to success in indoor volleyball over the last few years, but they've never been able to bring home gold. Most notably, the women's indoor volleyball team has finished second in 2008 and 2012 along with a third-place finish in 2016. This year, Rachel Adams and Haleigh Washington are hoping to take that extra step and bring home a gold medal.
Men's Beach Volleyball Roster: N/A
Men's Indoor Roster: N/A
Women's Beach Volleyball Roster: N/A
Women's Indoor Roster: Rachel Adams, Foluke Akinradewo Gunderson, Chiaka Ogbogu, Jordan Thompson, Haleigh Washington
Max Irving and Ashleigh Johnson will be competing in Water Polo during the 2021 Olympic games.
South Carolina native Clarence "CJ" Cummings will be representing in weightlifting. Last year, the 21-year-old held all of the world Junior weightlifting records in the -73kg class.
Tamrya Mensah-Stock is representing the US in wrestling in Tokyo. The professional wrestler was honored as the United World Wrestling Women's Wrestler of the Year in 2019.
It's safe to say we have plenty of athletes to root for during the Olympic Games in Tokyo. Good luck to all of these champs!
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