Meet the summer Olympians from Minnesota

A volleyball player reaches for a strike
Jordan Thompson (left) of Team USA hits between Ting Zhu #2 of Team China and Xinyue Yuan #1 during a women's preliminary match at Ariake Arena on Tuesday in Tokyo, Japan.
Toru Hanai | Getty Images

Updated: Aug. 5

More than 20 athletes attending the Tokyo Summer Olympics have a connection to Minnesota. The team includes household names like gymnast Sunisa Lee and Minnesota Lynx players Napheesa Collier and Sylvia Fowles.

But Minnesota athletes are also representing Team USA in sports like wrestling, rowing, shooting and sport climbing, one of this year’s newest Olympic sports. Some athletes with Minnesota ties are representing other nations, including Canada and Liberia.

The Tokyo Summer Olympics began July 23.

For updates on when and where to watch the athletes compete, check back here regularly, and visit KARE 11 for more in-depth Olympic coverage.


Baseball

A baseball player winds up for a pitch.
Joe Ryan of Team USA pitches against Team Israel in the first inning during the baseball opening round Group B game on day seven of the Tokyo Olympic Games at Yokohama Baseball Stadium.
Yuichi Masuda | Getty Images

Joe Ryan, 25

A new addition to Minnesota’s group of Olympic athletes, Joe Ryan was recently traded from the Tampa Bay Rays to the Minnesota Twins — along with pitcher Drew Strotman — as part of a multi-player trade involving Nelson Cruz and minor league pitcher Calvin Faucher.

Ryan is from San Francisco and has played for the Tampa Bay Rays AAA team since 2018 when he was drafted from Cal State, Stanislaus. He’s now on the roster of the St. Paul Saints, the Twins AAA team.

Basketball

Napheesa Collier catches a basketball
Napheesa Collier of the Minnesota Lynx grabs a defensive rebound during a September 2020 game against the Phoenix Mercury.
Julio Aguilar | Getty Images

Napheesa Collier, 25

This is the first Olympic games for Minnesota Lynx forward Napheesa Collier, but she’s played on national teams before. She was a member of the 2019 AmeriCup team that finished with a 6-0 record and a gold medal.

Collier, who calls St. Louis her hometown, was drafted by the Minnesota Lynx in 2019. She was also named the Rookie of the Year in 2019 by the WNBA, ESPNW and The Associated Press, and was named to the WNBA All-Stars in 2019 and 2021. She is the second rookie in WNBA history to produce at least 400 points, 200 rebounds and 60 steals, according to USA Basketball.

FIBA Women's Olympic Qualifying Tournament 2020 - Day Two
Sylvia Fowles (right) of the U.S. in action against Mozambique players during the FIBA Women's Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Belgrade, Serbia.
Srdjan Stevanovic | Getty Images 2020

Sylvia Fowles, 36

This will be Sylvia Fowles’ fourth Olympics with her first in Beijing in 2008. Each trip resulted in a gold medal. She also won gold in the 2010 world championship.

Fowles is the first woman athlete to dunk in an international competition, according to Team USA’s website.

While she’s played for the Minnesota Lynx since 2015, Fowles calls Miami her hometown and began her professional career at the Chicago Sky after playing at Louisiana State University. Fowles was named the WNBA MVP in 2017 and helped the Lynx win their WNBA titles in 2015 and 2017. She was also named to the All-WNBA first team in 2010, 2013 and 2017 and was the Defensive Player of the Year in 2011, 2013 and 2016.

Basketball - Olympics: Day 9
Natalie Achonwa of Canada shoots a free throw against Spain during the women's preliminary round on Day 9 of the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
Rob Carr | Getty Images 2016

Natalie Achonwa, 28

Natalie Achonwa will make her third Olympic appearance with Team Canada after making history as the youngest player to join the national team at age 16. In her last trip to the games, the Lynx player appeared in all six contests and averaged 5 points and 2.8 rebounds.

Minnesota Lynx v Seattle Storm - Game One
Bridget Carleton of the Minnesota Lynx shoots from beyond the three-point line over Alysha Clark of the Seattle Storm during the first half of Game One of their third-round playoff at Feld Entertainment Center in Palmetto, Fla., in 2020.
Julio Aguilar | Getty Images 2020

Bridget Carleton, 24

Bridget Carleton, a guard for the Minnesota Lynx, will make her first trip to the Olympic Games playing for Team Canada. Carleton first played in the WNBA for the Connecticut Sun but was soon signed by the Lynx in her rookie year in 2019.

JPN: Iran v Czech Republic Men's Basketball - Olympics: Day 2
Michael Rostampour (right) of Team Iran drives to the basket against Tomas Satoransky of Team Czech Republic during the second half on day two of the Tokyo Games at Saitama Super Arena on July 25 in Saitama, Japan.
Gregory Shamus | Getty Images

Michael Rostampour, 30

Michael Rostampour grew up in West St. Paul and played basketball for Henry Sibley High School. He played for St. Cloud State University and the University of Nebraska Omaha.

He now plays basketball professionally, and is playing for Team Iran in the Olympics — his father was born in Iran and moved to Chicago in the late 1970s.

In an article from FIBA Basketball, Rostampour said he didn’t initially plan to play basketball, but followed a friend to a game and it kick-started a competitive drive.

“I was that tall skinny kid," he said. "But I didn't actually play organized basketball. When I came to the games and I watched, I'm just looking at the competition and I'm like 'This guy is good? This guy is beating this guy? … Let me see what I can do. I got to try this out.’ That's what started it, with some fire and passion. I just want to win.”


Cycling

Team USA Portraits For Tokyo 2020
BMX rider Alise Willoughby
Harry How | Getty Images

Alise Willoughby, 30

Alise Willoughby spoke with ATC host Tom Crann ahead of the games

An 11-time U.S. champion, two-time world champion and two-time Olympian, the BMX racer calls St. Cloud home and was ranked second in the world in the elite women’s category. Willoughby was a silver medalist at the 2016 Games. Her family is also a driving force behind Pineview Park BMX in St. Cloud.

In 2006, she became the first woman to be voted Rookie Pro of the Year by BMXer Magazine as well as the youngest to win the American Bicycle Association national title at age 15.


Gymnastics

Team USA Portraits For Tokyo 2020
Gymnast Suni Lee.
Harry How | Getty Images

Sunisa Lee, 18

Sunisa Lee was a part of the American gymnastics team that won gold at the 2019 world championships, taking the silver medal in the floor exercise and bronze in the uneven bars competition. She also advanced to the all-around final.

At the national championship, Lee took second in the all-around competition, while winning the uneven bars.

In 2021, Lee repeated her championship in the national uneven bars and took the silver medal for the balance beam. She was also the 2021 Winter Cup uneven bars champion and balance beam silver medalist.

In Tokyo, she and the U.S. won a silver medal in the women’s team competition. She will also compete in the all-around Thursday, as well as bar and beam finals on Sunday and Aug. 3, respectively.

Team USA Portraits For Tokyo 2020
Gymnast Grace McCallum
Harry How | Getty Images

Grace McCallum, 18

Grace McCallum was a member of the gold medal 2018 and 2019 world teams and also took bronze in the 2019 U.S. all-around. In 2021, McCallum also won the U.S. balance beam bronze medal.

While the Tokyo games were delayed in 2020, McCallum suffered an injury to her hand in January 2021, but returned to competitions in May for the U.S. Classic. She participated in the all-around competition, finishing fourth behind Simon Biles, Jordan Chiles and Kayla DiCello.

Due to her injury, McCallum told the Star Tribune’s Rachel Blount that she didn’t start training on the four events until April 24.

McCallum calls Isanti her hometown, and according to the Deseret News, has signed a letter of intent to join the University of Utah Utes women’s gymnastics team, known as the Red Rocks, in 2022.

At the Tokyo Games, McCallum and U.S. won a silver medal in the women’s team competition.

Shane Wiskus
Shane Wiskus dismounts after competing on the rings during the men's senior competition of the U. S. gymnastics championships at Dickies Arena on June 5 in Fort Worth, Texas.
Jamie Squire | Getty Images

Shane Wiskus, 22

Shane Wiskus of Waconia was on the U.S. men’s team for the 2019 world championships and carried his success into 2020. He was second in the all-around at February’s Winter Cup in Las Vegas, then finished fourth in all-around at the American Cup, an international meet in March.

Wiskus and the U.S. finished in fifth place in the men’s team competition in Tokyo.


Rowing

FISA Rowing World Cup - Day Three
In July 2009, Megan Kalmoe (left) and Ellen Tomek of the U.S. pose with their medals after the women's double sculls final race during the FISA Rowing World Cup in Lucerne, Switzerland.
Alex Domanski | Bongarts via Getty Images 2009

Megan Kalmoe, 37

Megan Kalmoe considers Minneapolis her birthplace and St. Croix Falls, Wis., her hometown. Kalmoe is a three-time Olympian, first attending the 2008 games in Beijing. She was a part of the bronze medal team in the quadruple sculls event at the 2012 London Games and won the gold medal at the 2015 world championship in the same event.

She also secured three silver medals at various world championship events over the years, one for the quadruple sculls event in 2011, and two — one in 2014, the other in 2017 — for the coxless pair event.


Sailing

Lara Dallman-Weiss
Lara Dallman-Weiss has participated in the sailing world championship for three years and finished seventh in the 470 women's competition in 2021.
Image courtesy of Perfect Vision Sailing

Lara Dallman-Weiss, 32

Lara Dallman-Weiss of Shoreview learned to sail on White Bear Lake and began to sail competitively at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Fla. While there, she won third place at the 2010 women’s nationals and earned the Crew and Skipper of the Year award.

This year will be her first competing in the Olympics, but she has participated in the world championship three years in a row, finishing seventh in the 2021 long course competition.


Shooting

Patrick Sunderman
Patrick Sunderman competes at Karni Singh Shooting Range in New Delhi on March 26.
Prakash Singh | AFP via Getty Images file

Patrick Sunderman, 27

Army Sgt. Patrick Sunderman, a Farmington native, was a four-time NCAA champion with the West Virginia University rifle team from 2013 to 2016 and earned a silver medal at the 2021 ISSF World Cup. Sunderman finished second in the USA shooting trials. He’ll compete in Tokyo in the men’s smallbore rifle event.

Sunderman is also part of the Army Marksmanship Unit international team as a shooter and instructor.


Sport climbing

A woman climbs a wall.
Kyra Condie of the United States is seen during the women's semifinal lead competition of the IFSC Climbing World Cup in Innsbruck, Austria, on June 25.
Johann Groder | EXPA | AFP via Getty Images

Kyra Condie, 25

Kyra Condie was born in St. Paul and calls Shoreview her hometown, though she moved to Salt Lake City to train with USA Climbing. She was one of the first American women to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics, and participated in the world championship in 2019, taking 14th place in the bouldering competition.

Sport climbing is making its Olympic debut as a sport at the Tokyo Games, and will consist of three disciplines: lead climbing, bouldering and speed climbing.

Swimming

Regan Smith
Swimmer Regan Smith.
Harry How | Getty Images

Regan Smith, 19

Regan Smith’s superb backstroke got her to the world championships at age 15. At 17, she set the world record in the 100-meter and 200-meter backstroke races. At 18, she has some of the fastest times in the world in those events and is broadening her program, excelling in butterfly events as well.

Smith is a Lakeville native. She’s planning to attend Stanford University but put off starting her college years to continue training during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In Tokyo, Smith won a bronze in the 100-meter backstroke and a silver in the 200-meter butterfly.

2021 U.S. Olympic Trials - Swimming - Day 7
Michael Andrew of the United States reacts after competing in a semifinal heat for the men's 50-meter freestyle during Day 7 of the 2021 U.S. Olympic Team Swimming Trials at CHI Health Center on June 19 in Omaha, Neb.
Tom Pennington | Getty Images file

Michael Andrew, 22

Michael Andrew was born in Edina but lives in Lawrence, Kan., and currently lists Encintas, Calif., as his residence on Team USA’s website.

His training technique has been considered nontraditional, using a method called ultra-short race-pace training, where he trained in a backyard pool swimming for less distance but always at race pace speeds. Andrew has hardware to back up the results, winning five gold medals and four silver medals from various world championships since 2016.

Andrew recently made headlines after announcing he plans to attend the Tokyo Games without getting vaccinated against COVID-19, saying he didn’t “want to risk any days out, because there are periods where if you take a vaccine, you have to deal with some days off.”

Andrew will compete in the 100-meter breaststroke, 200-meter individual medley and 50-meter freestyle.

2021 U.S. Olympic Trials - Swimming - Day 7
Bowe Becker of the United States competes in a semifinal heat for the men's 50-meter freestyle during Day 7 of the 2021 U.S. Olympic Team Swimming Trials at CHI Health Center in Omaha, Neb.
Al Bello | Getty Images

Bowe Becker, 24

Bowe Becker is from Reno, Nev., and now lives in Minnesota after attending the University of Minnesota and competing in swimming in college. He earned All-American honors in the 50-meter freestyle and the 100-meter freestyle and took fourth place in the NCAA championship in 2019. He also took silver in the 100 freestyle and broke the Big Ten record at the event in 2019.

Becker won gold in the 4x100-meter freestyle relay at the Tokyo Olympic Games.


Track and field

A person holds a microphone while speaking.
Joe Klecker speaks as coach Dathan Ritzenhein presents the On Athletics Club elite team of competing athletes during a press conference on the eve of the U.S. Olympic trials on June 17 in Eugene, Ore.
Steph Chambers | Getty Images for On Athletics

Joe Klecker, 24

With a third-place finish in the men’s 10,000-meter race at the Olympic trials, Hopkins native Joe Klecker will compete in the Tokyo Olympic Games for his first time.

Klecker, a 2015 graduate of Hopkins High School, attended Colorado University.

Joseph Fahnbulleh, 23

A man runs down an indoor track holding a relay baton.
Joseph Fahnbulleh runs during the second day of the SEC Indoor Track & Field Championships on Feb. 29, 2020 at Gilliam Indoor Track Stadium in College Station, Texas.
Tim Casey | University of Florida

Joseph Fahnbulleh graduated from Hopkins High School in 2019 and is the reigning NCAA champion in the 200-meter dash for the University of Florida.

Fahnbulleh will compete in the summer games for Liberia, where his parents emigrated from.

2020 U.S. Olympic Track & Field Team Trials - Day 8
Mason Ferlic celebrates after the Men's 3000 Meters Steeplechase Final during day eight of the 2020 U.S. Olympic Track & Field Team Trials at Hayward Field on June 25 in Eugene, Ore.
Steph Chambers | Getty Images

Mason Ferlic, 27

Mason Ferlic, from Roseville will compete in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. In 2016, Ferlic was the NCAA champion of the outdoor 3,000-meter steeplechase for the University of Michigan.

Ferlic told the Pioneer Press that while he was disappointed when the COVID-19 pandemic pushed the games back a year, he said the additional time to rest and prepare may have been a blessing in disguise.

“That’s the weird paradox, right?” Ferlic said. “Obviously, I wouldn’t wish the pandemic on society again. But I think it might’ve been extremely helpful for my career as a whole. I look at what I want to do in the sport now, and I’m like, ‘Yeah. I want to keep on going for a couple more Olympic cycles.’ This past year has totally rejuvenated me.”

2020 U.S. Olympic Track & Field Team Trials - Day 1
Payton Otterdahl competes in the men's shot put final during Day 1 of the U.S. Olympic Track & Field Team Trials at Hayward Field on June 18 in Eugene, Ore.
Andy Lyons | Getty Images

Payton Otterdahl, 26

Payton Otterdahl is from Rosemount and was a part of North Dakota State University’s track team before qualifying for the Olympic Track & Field team in the shot put event.

Otterdahl won two indoor national titles as a senior for the Bison track and field team and currently serves as a volunteer assistant coach for his alma mater.

Otterdahl placed third at the Olympic trials, throwing his best throw of 71-11 on the fifth of six attempts, beating 2016 Olympian Darrell Hill by a 1-inch margin.


Volleyball

A volleyball player reaches for a strike
USA's Jordan Thompson hits the ball in the women's preliminary round pool B volleyball match between China and USA during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Ariake Arena in Tokyo on July 27, 2021.
Angela Weiss | AFP via Getty Images

Jordan Thompson, 23

Jordan Thompson made an impressive debut with the U.S. national team in the 2019 Volleyball Nations League tournament. The third-team all-America was one of only three college players on the U.S. roster and had five kills in the gold-medal match. She claims Edina as her hometown and finished a standout college career at Cincinnati last year.

An athlete strikes a volleyball
TeTori "Tori" Dixon strikes a volleyball during a match in August 2019.
Courtesy of USA Volleyball

TeTori ‘Tori’ Dixon, 28

A mainstay on the U.S. team since 2014, Dixon missed the 2016 Olympics after tearing her ACL. She helped the U.S. win back-to-back golds in the Volleyball Nations League in 2018 and 2019 and was named the tournament’s best blocker in 2018.

This year, Dixon will serve as an alternate for the volleyball team. She played for the University of Minnesota and calls Burnsville her hometown.

A player jumps to hit a volleyball in the air.
Hannah Tapp jumps up to hit a ball during a match in August 2019.
Courtesy of USA Volleyball

Hannah Tapp, 26

Hannah Tapp, an alternate on Team USA’s volleyball team, is from Stewartville and played for the University of Minnesota, helping the team reach the NCAA semifinals in both 2015 and 2016.

Tapp has been on the U.S. Women’s National Team since 2017 and has played professionally in Germany, Italy and Japan.

She was also selected Best Blocker at the 2019 Pan American Cup and named to the AVCCA All America First-Team in 2015. Her twin sister, Paige, has also played on the U.S. national team.

A player jumps up to hit a ball
Sarah Wilhite Parsons jumps up to hit a ball during a match in August 2019.
Courtesy of USA Volleyball

Sarah Wilhite Parsons, 26

Sarah Wilhite Parsons has been a member of the U.S. Women’s National Team since 2017 and will serve as an alternate for Team USA in Tokyo. In 2019 she was part of the U.S. team that won gold at the North, Central America and Caribbean Volleyball Confederation (NORCECA) Champions cup.

Parsons has also played professionally in Germany, Italy and Brazil, and was named the USAV Female Indoor Most Improved Player in 2018. She is from Eden Prairie and is a former player for the University of Minnesota.


Wrestling

Gable Steveson
Gable Steveson celebrates after beating Nick Gwiazdowski in their freestyle 125kg finals match on Day 2 of the U.S. Olympic Wrestling Team Trials at Dickies Arena on April 3 in Fort Worth, Texas.
Tom Pennington | Getty Images

Gable Steveson, 21

After an undefeated season at Minnesota, the heavyweight prodigy didn’t get a chance to compete for an NCAA championship because of the coronavirus pandemic.

In 2019, Steveson won the Bill Farrell International championship and was part of the World Team Trials championship. He also took home a silver medal from the Alexander Medved Prizes in Minsk, Belarus, and runner-up in the Final X wrestling event.

Steveson hopes to become one of the youngest U.S. wrestling Olympic gold medalists, and eventually become a WWE wrestler.

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