7 Oregon Athletes to Root for in the Rio Olympics
written by Lindsay McWilliams | featured photo by Nate Barrett
Oregon athletes abound at this summer’s Olympics in Rio, and it’s not all track and field (although Tracktown is well represented as usual). Here are a few on the must-watch list during this electrifying Olympic season.
Mariel Zagunis | Fencing
Fencing isn’t always the most publicized event, but this woman certainly deserves to be known. Mariel Zagunis, from Portland, was the first American to ever win a gold medal in fencing in 2004. This year, she returns to fight for her third gold medal after losing in the 2012 London Olympics. Watch Zagunis compete on August 8 in the women’s individual sabre.
Deajah Stevens | 200-Meter Sprint
A sophomore sprinter at the University of Oregon, Deajah Stevens is the first active female student-athlete to qualify for the Olympics in track and field. Originally from Bayside, New York, Stevens joined the Oregon Ducks after transferring from a junior college in California. At the 2016 Olympic Trials, she beat out gold medalist Allyson Felix, scoring the second spot on the U.S. team for the 200-meter event. Cheer on the young sprinter on August 15.
Jacob Pebley | Swimming
Corvallis native Jacob Pebley qualified for the 2016 Olympic Team in the 200-meter backstroke, grasping second place in the trials just after graduation from the University of California-Berkeley. Nicknamed “Pebbles,” the 22-year-old won the U.S. Nationals in 2015 and was ranked second in the NCAA this year, making him a promising competitor in Rio. Watch his race on August 10.
Devon Allen | 110-Meter Hurdles
Oregon Ducks wide receiver Devon Allen doubles as a track star, qualifying for the Olympic Games this year in the men’s 110-meter hurdles. At the Olympic trials, Allen set a personal record of 13.03 seconds, deserving of a ticket to Rio after finishing his sophomore year at the University of Oregon. Tune in on August 15 to watch him go for the gold.
Kimberly Hill | Volleyball
Outside hitter Kimberly Hill was born and raised in Portland before joining the volleyball team at Pepperdine University. This summer, the 6-foot-4 Oregonian will compete in the Olympics for the first time after joining Team USA in 2013. Known for her powerful and creative hits, Hill is sure to grab attention in this year’s Olympic Games. Watch her and the team debut on August 6.
Ryan Crouser | Shot Put
Ryan Crouser, from Boring, comes from a family of Olympic throwers—his father threw discus, his uncle threw javelin and his cousin, Sam Crouser, will throw javelin alongside Ryan this summer. The 23-year-old who recently graduated from the University of Texas won his spot in Rio with a shot put throw of 72 feet, 6 and a half inches. On August 18, he’ll live up to the family name and compete in the 2016 Olympic Games.
Paul Chelimo | 5000 Meters
Paul Chelimo’s current residence is in Beaverton, but he grew up in Iten, Kenya, moving to the United States to attend college. The 5,000-meter distance runner gained his citizenship by joining the U.S. Army, participating in its World Class Athlete Program. In the trials, Chelimo finished third with a time of 13:35 in the 5k race. This five-time NCAA All American and new Oregonian will compete on August 17 at the Olympics in Rio.
Check out some of our other articles about Oregon’s Olympic Athletes:
Long Distance Runner Kara Goucher
Javelin Thrower Rachel Yurkovich
Basketball Player Kevin Love
Lindsay –> Thanks for the heads up on 7 Oregonians to watch in the Olympics! You write VERY well. I’ll be looking for more of your stories in the months & years ahead.
Great article, Lindsay! I am looking forward to seeing these and the other elite athletes perform in Rio!