Ryan Hall, Meb Keflezighi, Jared Ward
Getty Images

U.S. athletes qualified for Rio 2016 Olympics

Leave a comment

The 2016 U.S. Olympic team is complete.

A total of 554 athletes have already earned their places in Rio de Janeiro. More athletes could be added based on the possible reallocation of quota spots, plus three fencing replacement athletes, if they compete in Rio.

The Rio Olympic Opening Ceremony is Aug. 5 at the historic Maracanã, and the Games run through Aug. 21.

Here’s the complete roster of 2016 U.S. Olympic athletes:

Archery (4)
Mackenzie Brown — @MackBrown14
Brady Ellison — @Brady_Ellison
Zach Garrett — @Zach_Garrett7
Jake Kaminski — @JakeKaminski

Badminton (7)
Phillip Chew
Eva Lee
Paula Lynn Obanana
Sattawat Pongnairat
Howard Shu — @HowardShu
Jamie Subandhi
Iris Wang

Basketball (24)
Seimone Augustus — @SeimoneAugustus
Sue Bird — @S10Bird
Tamika Catchings — @Catchin24
Tina Charles — @TinaCharles31
Elene Delle Donne — @De11eDonne
Sylvia Fowles — @SylviaFowles
Brittney Griner — @BrittneyGriner
Angel McCoughtry — @Angel_35
Maya Moore — @MooreMaya
Breanna Stewart — @Bre_Stewart30
Diana Taurasi — @DianaTaurasi
Lindsay Whalen — @Lindsay_13

Carmelo Anthony — @CarmeloAnthony
Harrison Barnes — @HBarnes
Jimmy Butler — @JimmyButler
DeMarcus Cousins — @BoogieCousins
DeMar DeRozan — @DeMar_DeRozan
Kevin Durant — @KDTrey5
Paul George — @YG_Trece
Draymond Green — @Money23Green
Kyrie Irving — @KyrieIrving
DeAndre Jordan — @DeAndreJordan6
Kyle Lowry — @KLow7
Klay Thompson — @KlayThompson

Beach Volleyball (8)
Phil Dalhausser — @PhilDalhausser
Lauren Fendrick — @LaurenFendrick
Jake Gibb — @JakeGibb
Nick Lucena — @NickLucenaFSU
Casey Patterson — @CaseyPatt
April Ross — @AprilRossBeach
Brooke Sweat — @BASweat
Kerri Walsh Jennings — @KerriLeeWalsh

Boxing (8)
Carlos Balderas
Charles Conwell — @CharlesConwell
Nico Hernandez — @NicoTheBoxer
Mikaela Mayer — @MikaelaMayer1
Gary Russell — @AntuanneRussell
Claressa Shields — @ClaressaShields
Shakur Stevenson — @ShakurStevenson
Antonio Vargas

Canoe/Kayak (5)
Casey Eichfeld — @kckanu
Maggie Hogan — @Maggs1179
Devan McEwan
Ashley Nee — @TheLifeOfNee
Michal Smolen — @MichalSmolen

Cycling (21)
Mara Abbott — @CosunshineMKA
Kristin Armstrong — @K_Armstrong
Matt Baranoski — @MattBaranoski
Brent Bookwalter — @BrentBookwalter
Kelly Catlin — @Kelly_Catlin
Brooke Crain — @BrookeCrain32
Lea Davison — @LeaDavisonBikes
Chloe Dygert — @ChloeDygert30
Connor Fields — @CFields
Howard Grotts — @HowardGrotts
Megan Guarnier — @MeganGuarnier
Sarah Hammer — @SarahHammer
Bobby Lea — @B_Lea1
Nic Long — @NicLong64
Taylor Phinney — @TaylorPhinney
Alise Post — @AlisePost11 
Corben Sharrah — @CorbenSharrah
Evelyn Stevens — @Evelyn_Stevens
Jennifer Valente — @ValenteJennifer
Ruth Winder — @RuthWinder
Chloe Woodruff — @ChloeWoodruff

Diving (10)
David Boudia — @DavidBoudia
Kassidy Cook — @KassidyCook1
Amy Cozad — @Amy_D_Cozad
Sam Dorman — @Sam_Dorman
Michael Hixon
Kristian Ipsen — @KristianIpsen
Steele Johnson — @Steele_Johnson
Abby Johnston — @AbbyLJohnston
Jessica Parratto — @JessicaParratto
Katrina Young — @KatrinaDiver

Equestrian (12)
Allison Brock
Lucy Davis — @GooseyDavis
Phillip Dutton — @DuttonEventing
Kent Farrington — @KentFarrington
Laura Graves — @LGravesDressage
Lauren Kieffer — @LaurenKieffer
Beezie Madden — @JohnMaddenSales
Boyd Martin — @WindurraUSA
Clark Montgomery — @MontgomeryEques
Kasey Perry-Glass — @KaseyPDressage
Steffen Peters
McLain Ward

Fencing (14)
Miles Chamley-Watson — @MChamleyWatson
Eli Dershwitz
Katherine Holmes
Daryl Homer — @DarylDHomer
Courtney Hurley
Kelley Hurley — @ThisHurleyGurrl
Lee Kiefer — @LeetotheKiefer
Alexander Massialas — @AMassialas
Gerek Meinhardt — @GerekMeinhardt
Ibtihaj Muhammad — @IbtihajMuhammad
Nzingha Prescod — @zingzang14
Jason Pryor — @JasonPryor5
Dagmara Wozniak — @DagaUSAFencing
Mariel Zagunis — @MarielZagunis

Field Hockey (16)
Katie Bam — @KatieODonnelFH
Jackie Briggs
Lauren Crandall — @LaurenCrandall
Rachel Dawson — @RachelDawson8
Katelyn Falgowski — @Falgo23
Stefanie Fee — @SteFee2
Melissa Gonzalez — @MellyGee123
Michelle Kasold — @MKasold18
Kelsey Kolojejchick
Alyssa Manley — @AlyssaManley5
Julia Reinprecht — @JReinpre
Katie Reinprecht — @KReinp
Kathleen Sharkey — @KSharkeyy
Caitlin Van Sickle — @Poppatweett
Michelle Vitesse — @MichelleVitt55
Jill Witmer — @JillWitmerFH

Golf (7)
Stacy Lewis — @Stacy_Lewis
Gerina Piller — @GerinaPiller
Lexi Thompson — @Lexi
Rickie Fowler — @RickieFowlerPGA
Matt Kuchar
Patrick Reed — @PReedGolf
Bubba Watson — @BubbaWatson

Gymnastics (18)
Nicole Ahsinger — @NicoleAhsinger
Simone Biles — @Simone_Biles
Chris Brooks — @CBrooks_wpr
Jacob Dalton — @Jake_Dalton
Logan Dooley — @DooleyLogan
Gabby Douglas — @GabrielleDoug
Kiana Eide
Laurie Hernandez — LzHernandez02
Alisa Kano
Madison Kocian — @MadisonKocian
Danell Leyva — @DanellJLeyva
Natalie McGiffert — @NatMcGiffert
Sam Mikulak — @SamuelMikulak
Alex Naddour — @Alex_Naddour
Aly Raisman — @Aly_Raisman
Monica Rokhman — @MonicaRokhman
Kristen Shaldybin — @Krishald97
Laura Zeng

Judo (6)
Colton Brown — @Colt_Forty_5
Angelica Delgado — @AngieDelgado52
Nick Delpopolo — @NickForGold
Kayla Harrison — @Judo_Kayla
Marti Malloy — @Martidamus
Travis Stevens — @JudoSilencer

Modern Pentathlon (3)
Isabella Isaksen — @IsabellaIsaksen
Margaux Isaksen — @MargauxIsaksen
Nathan Schrimsher — @pentnate5

Rowing (41)
Kate Bertko — @KBertko
Andrew Campbell — @TheAndyCamps
Charlie Cole
Mike DiSanto — @MADiSanto
Sam Dommer — @SamDommer
Tracy Eisser
Amanda Elmore — @AElm22
Anthony Fahden
Tessa Gobbo
Nareg Guregian — @Nareg_G
Austin Hack
Megan Kalmoe — @MeganKalmoe
Alex Karwoski — @AKarwoski4
Devery Karz — @DeveryKarz
Steve Kasprzyk
Edward King
Joshua Konieczny
Grace Latz — @GraceLatz
Eleanor Logan — @EDavisLogan
Grace Luczak — @RowGrace
Adrienne Martelli — @HammerMartelli
Matt Miller — @MattGuyMiller
Felice Mueller — @Feliced23
Rob Munn — @BobbyCGunn
Meghan Musnicki — @MegMus
Tyler Nase — @The_Sy5tem
Meghan O’Leary — @MeghanOLeary1
Glenn Ochal — @GlennOchal
Sam Ojserkis
Amanda Polk — @ARPolk
Robin Prendes — @RobinPrendes
Emily Regan — @EmilyRegan1
Henrik Rummel — @HenrikRummel
Lauren Schmetterling — @DasSchmett
Kerry Simmonds — @Simmonds_Kerry
Katelin Snyder — @KatelinS
Gevvie Stone — @GevGevs
Hans Struzyna — @hcgs89
Ellen Tomek — @EllenTomek
Seth Weil
Anders Weiss

Rugby (24)
Perry Baker — @SpeedStick11
Danny Barrett — @BookEmShaaarkie
Garrett Bender — @RugbyBender
Andrew Durutalo — @Durutalo_8
Nate Ebner — @NatEbner34
Madison Hughes — @MadisonHughes15
Carlin Isles — @Carlin_Isles
Folau Niua — @FNiua
Ben Pinkelman
Zack Test — @ZTesty5
Maka Unufe — @MakaUnufe
Chris Wyles — @ChrisWyles

Bui Baravilala — @Boolalahh
Ryan Carlyle — @Ryy_Car
Lauren Doyle — @LDoyle2009
Joanne Fa’avesi — @NanaFaavesi
Carmen Farmer
Victoria Folayan — @VixFly
Kelly Griffin — @KGrif1
Jessica Javelet — @JJavelet
Kathryn Johnson
Alev Kelter — @KelterAlev
Jillion Potter — @JillPPotts
Richelle Stephens — @RicRacRichelle

Sailing (15)
Thomas Barrows — @BM49er
Charlie Buckingham — @Char_Buck_
Louisa Chafee
Bora Gulari — @BGulari
Annie Haeger — @AnnieKateH
Paris Henken
Dave Hughes — @HughesSailing
Marion Lepert
Stuart McNay
Joe Morris — @BM49er
Caleb Paine — @CPaine_Sailing
Pedro Pascual — @Pedro11Pascual
Briana Provancha
Paige Railey — @PaigeSailor
Helena Scutt — @HelenaScutt

Shooting (20)
Will Brown — @WillsGotGuns
Corey Cogdell-Unrein — @CoreyCogdell
Morgan Craft — @MorganCraft25
Glenn Eller — @WGEller3
Matthew Emmons — @MattEmmonsUSA
Vincent Hancock — @Vincent_Hancock
David Higgins
Lucas Kozeniesky — @ButActually13
Dan Lowe
Michael McPhail
Emil Milev — @EmilMilev
Lydia Paterson
Kim Rhode — @KimRhode
Joshua Richmond — @JoshuaRichmond4
Keith Sanderson
Sarah Scherer — @Sarah_Scherer
Enkelejda Shehaj
Jay Shi
Frank Thompson — @F_Thompson15
Virginia Thrasher

Soccer (18)
Morgan Brian — @MoeeBrian
Crystal Dunn — @CrysDunn_19
Whitney Engen — @WhitneyEngen
Tobin Heath — @TobinHeath
Lindsey Horan — @LindseyHoran11
Julie Johnston — @_JulieJohnston_
Meghan Klingenberg — @MeghanKling
Ali Krieger — @AliKrieger
Allie Long — @Allie_Long
Carli Lloyd — @CarliLloyd
Alex Morgan — @AlexMorgan13
Alyssa Naeher — @AlyssaNaeher
Kelley O’Hara — @KOhara19
Christen Press — @ChristenPress
Mallory Pugh — @MPugh
Megan Rapinoe — @MPinoe
Becky Sauerbrunn — @BeckySauerbrunn
Hope Solo — @HopeSolo

Swimming (47)
Cammile Adams — @CammileAdams
Nathan Adrian — @NathanGAdrian
Haley Anderson — @SwimHaley
Kathleen Baker — @KathleenBaker2
Elizabeth Beisel — @EBeisel34
Gunnar Bentz — @TheGunnyBunny
Jack Conger
Kevin Cordes — @KWCordes
Maya DiRado — @MayaDiRado
Caeleb Dressel — @CaelebDressel
Conor Dwyer — @ConorJDwyer
Anthony Ervin — @AnthonyErvin
Jimmy Feigen — @JimmyFeigen
Hali Flickinger — @Hali_Flickinger
Missy Franklin — @MissyFranklin
Townley Haas — @TownleyH
Molly Hannis — @MollyHannis
Ryan Held — @Heldilox
Connor Jaeger — @ConJaeg
Chase Kalisz — @ChaseKalisz
Lilly King — @_King_Lil
Katie Ledecky — @KatieLedecky
Jay Litherland — @J_Litherland
Ryan Lochte — @RyanLochte
Simone Manuel — @Simone_Manuel
Melanie Margalis — @MelMargalis
Katie Meili — @Katie_Meili
Cody Miller — @Swimiller
Ryan Murphy — @Ryan_F_Murphy
Lia Neal — @LiaNeal
Jacob Pebley — @Jacob_Pebley
Michael Phelps — @MichaelPhelps
Blake Pieroni — @BPieroniGold
David Plummer — @DavidEPlummer
Josh Prenot — @JoshPrenot
Cierra Runge — @CierraRunge
Sean Ryan — @SeanRyan92
Allison Schmitt — @ARSchmitty
Tom Shields — @BeefyTShields
Clark Smith
Leah Smith — @LGSmith19
Olivia Smoliga — @OliviaSmoliga
Dana Vollmer — @DanaVollmer
Amanda Weir — @AmandaJoWeir
Abbey Weitzeil — @AbbeyWeitzeil
Jordan Wilimovsky — @J_Wilimovsky
Kelsi Worrell — @KelsiWhirl

Synchronized Swimming (2)
Anita Alvarez — @AnitaaAlvarez12
Mariya Koroleva — @MKoroleva

Table Tennis (6)
Yijun Feng
Kanak Jha
Timothy Wang
Jennifer Wu
Lily Zhang — @LilyAnnZhang
Jiaqi Zheng — @JQZ520

Taekwondo (4)
Jackie Galloway — @ikick_urface
Stephen Lambdin — @StephenLambdin
Steven Lopez — @StevenLopeztkd
Paige McPherson — @Mcfierce2012

Tennis (11)
Brian Baker — @BBakesTennis
Steve Johnson — @SJohnson_89
Madison Keys — @Madison_Keys
Denis Kudla — @DenisKudla
Bethanie Mattek-Sands — @BMattek
Rajeev Ram — @RajeevRam
Jack Sock — @JackSock
Sloane Stephens — @SloaneStephens
CoCo Vandeweghe — @CocoVandey
Serena Williams — @SerenaWilliams
Venus Williams — @VenusESWilliams

Track and Field (129)
Bradley Adkins — @Bradley_Adkins
Morolake Akinosun — @MsFastTwitch
Nia Ali — @ItsPooda
Devon Allen — @DevonAllen13
Robby Andrews — @RA_Andrews
Ronnie Ash
Whitney Ashley — @WJaShLeyLUVSU
Tavis Bailey — @VolThrower215
Tianna Bartoletta — @HensleyTiana
Chris Benard — @FlyyLikeChrisB
Boris Berian — @BorisGump800
Gwen Berry — @Berry_Edible
Ben Blankenship — @BenFBlankenship
Hillary Bor
Brittany Borman — @BrittBorman
Tori Bowie — @Bowie_Tori
Marvin Bracy — @_BraceYaself
Trayvon Bromell — @TrayvonBromell
Donn Cabral — @DonnCabral
Amber Campbell — @USAHammerHottie
Kelsey Card — @KelseyCard27
Michelle Carter — @ShotDiva
Kristi Castlin — @KristiHollywood
Matthew Centrowitz — @MattCentrowitz
Paul Chelimo — @PaulChelimo
Will Claye — @WilliamClaye
Kerron Clement
Kyle Clemons — @KC_Quik
Emma Coburn — @EmmaJCoburn
Christian Coleman — @__Coleman
Kim Conley — @KimConley
Amy Cragg — @HastyHastings
Ryan Crouser — @RCrouserThrows
Sam Crouser
Logan Cunningham
Vashti Cunningham — @VashTizzle_
Abbey D’Agostino — @Abbey_Dags
Janay DeLoach — @JanayDeLoach
Ashton Eaton — @AshtonJEaton
Taylor Ellis-Watson
Christina Epps — @Ms_Hop_St3pps
Andrew Evans — @MAndrew_91
Allyson Felix — @AllysonFelix
Mason Finley
Shalane Flanagan — @ShalaneFlanagan
Phyllis Francis — @PhyllisCFrancis
Courtney Frerichs — @CourtFrerichs8
Sean Furey
English Gardner — @UghlyDucklin
Justin Gatlin — @JustinGatlin
Tyson Gay — @TysonLGay
Andrea Geubelle — @AGeubelle05
Kate Grace — @FastK8
Arman Hall — @Arman_Hall
Marielle Hall
Mike Hartfield — @FlightHartfield
Natasha Hastings — @NatashaHastings
Jeff Henderson
Darrell Hill — @B1GHomie
Cyrus Hostetler — @CHostetler15
Shelby Houlihan — @Shelbo800
Molly Huddle — @MollyHuddle
Emily Infeld — @Emily_Infeld
Evan Jager — @EvanJager
Charles Jock — @CharlesJock
Felisha Johnson — @Fefe_J247
Kibwe Johnson — @KibweJohnson
Meb Keflezighi — @RunMeb
Sam Kendricks — @SamKendricks
Shadrack Kipchirchir — @ShadrackKipch16
Leonard Korir
Joe Kovacs — @JoeKovacsUSA
Erik Kynard — @Erik_Kynard
Bernard Lagat — @Lagat1500
Jarrion Lawson — @J_Lawson_
Desi Linden — @Des_Linden
Chaunté Lowe — @ChaunteLowe
Maggie Malone — @MaggieMalone93
Brenda Martinez — @BMartRun
Francena McCorory — @TheRealMcCorory
Conor McCullough — @CoMcCullough
Sydney McLaughlin
Inika McPherson — @HighJumpQueen
Tony McQuay — @Tmq400
Hassan Mead — @HassyHass35
Miranda Melville — @MirandaRaceWalk
LaShawn Merritt — @LaShawn Merritt
Maria Michta-Coffey — @MariaMichta
Heather Miller-Koch — @HMillerKoch
Sandi Morris — @SandiCheeksPV
Dalilah Muhammad
Clayton Murphy — @Clayton_Murph
John Nunn — @Johnnywalker04
Barbara Nwaba — @TrackBarbie7
Courtney Okolo — @CourtneyOkolo
Keturah Orji — @KeturahOrji
Jeff Porter — @JeffPorter1
Jenna Prandini — @J_Prandini
DeAnna Price — @DeAnnaPrice32
Colleen Quigley — @Steeple_Squigs
Brittney Reese — @DaLJBeast
Gil Roberts — @Gil_Roberts
Ricky Robertson — @Jump_Aholic
Byron Robinson — @TheRealBSwagg
Mike Rodgers — @Mr_Rodgers_DAT
Brianna Rollins — @Bri_Rollin
Shannon Rowbury — @ShannonRowbury
Galen Rupp — @G_Rupp
Raven Saunders — @GiveMe1Shot
Cale Simmons
Jenny Simpson — @TrackJenny
Ashley Spencer — @TheTrackQueen
Deajah Stevens — @ButDeajahSaid
Jenn Suhr — @JennSuhr
Jeremy Taiwo — @JeremyATaiwo
Christian Taylor — @Taylored2Jump
Michael Tinsley — @Mr400Hurdles
Shelbi Vaughan — @Throw_Princess 
David Verburg — @AdiVerb
Jared Ward — @JWardy21
Ariana Washington — @ImJustAri
Ameer Webb — @FastLikeWebb
Lexi Weeks — @LexiWeeks
Chrishuna Williams — @shuna_lashay
Kendell Williams — @Kendell61495
Ajee’ Wilson — @AjeeW
Kara Winger — @KaraThrowsJav
Rudy Winkler — @ThrowRW
Zach Ziemek — @TheOnlyDoubleZ

Triathlon (6)
Greg Billington — @Grillington
Gwen Jorgensen – @GwenJorgensen
Ben Kanute — @BenKanute
Joe Maloy — @JoeTriathlon
Sarah True — @SGroffy
Katie Zaferes — @KZaferes6

Volleyball (24)
Matt Anderson — @MattAnderson_1
Micah Christenson — @MChristenson5
Max Holt — @MaxwellHolt
Thomas Jaeschke — @T_Jaeschke
David Lee — @D_Lee_Dreams
Reid Priddy — @ReidPriddy
Aaron Russell — @FatRonRussell
Taylor Sander — @TaylorSander15
Erik Shoji — @Shojinator
Kawika Shoji — @KShoji7
David Smith — @DavidMSmith15
Murphy Troy — @MurphDogg_

Rachael Adams — @RAdamss
Foluke Akinradewo — @FAkinradewo
Kayla Banwarth — @KaylaBanwarth2
Christa Dietzen — @ChristaDietzen
Alisha Glass — @AGlass6
Kim Hill — @KimJayeHill
Jordan Larson — @JordanLarson10
Carli Lloyd
Karsta Lowe — @KFLoweUCLA
Kelly Murphy — @KellyMurph12
Kelsey Robinson — @KRobin32
Courtney Thompson — @CourtLThompson

Water Polo (26)
KK Clark — @KKClarkUSA
Kami Craig — @KamiCraigUSA
Rachel Fattal
Aria Fischer — @AriaFischer_
Makenzie Fischer — @MakenzieFishy
Kaleigh Gilchrist — @KGilchrist15
Sami Hill — @SamiHillUSA
Ashleigh Johnson — @TheAshJohnson
Courtney Mathewson — @CLKMathewson
Maddie Musselman — @MaddieMusselman
Kiley Neushul
Melissa Seidemann — @MelSeidemann
Maggie Steffens — @MaggieSteffens

Tony Azevedo — @WaterPoloTony
McQuin Baron — @McQuinBaron
Bret Bonanni — @BretBonanni
Alex Bowen — @Amazing_Brick
Luca Cupido
Thomas Dunstan
Ben Hallock — @Ben_Hallock
John Mann — @JohnMannUSA
Merrill Moses — @MerrillMoses
Alex Obert — @AObert18
Alex Roelse — @AlexRoelse
Josh Samuels — @JSamuels7
Jesse Smith — @GoSmithNow

Weightlifting (4)
Jenny Arthur — @JlArthur2016
Kendrick Farris — @KendrickJFarris
Morghan King — @KingMorghan
Sarah Robles — @Roblympian

Wrestling (14)
Haley Augello — @HayAugello
Andy Bisek — @Biseks_Stache
Jordan Burroughs — @alliseeisgold
J’Den Cox — @superstarw14t
Daniel Dennis
Tervel Dlagnev — @TervelDlagnev
Adeline Gray — @AdelineGray
Helen Maroulis — @Helen_Maroulis
Frank Molinaro — @GorillaHulk149
Elena Pirozhkova — @E_Pirozhkova
Ben Provisor — @B_Provisor74
Robby Smith — @RTDSmith
Kyle Snyder — @Snyder_Man45
Jesse Thielke — @Thielke_Smooth

MORE: Rio 2016 day-by-day events to watch

Allyson Felix withdraws from Prefontaine Classic

AP
Leave a comment

Allyson Felix withdrew on the eve of the Prefontaine Classic and will miss Saturday’s anticipated 400m showdown with Olympic champion Shaunae Miller-Uibo and world champion Phyllis Francis.

No reason was given by the meet director at a Friday press conference, according to media in Eugene, Ore.

Felix, a nine-time Olympic medalist and 16-time world outdoor championships medalist, was scheduled to race on the top international level for the first time since Aug. 20. She has raced in smaller meets this season, most recently last Friday.

This is the one year in the four-year cycle without an Olympics or world outdoor championships, making the Diamond League, and the Pre Classic in particular, marquee meets.

“In the 19 years that I’ve been running track, I’ve never taken a break,” the 32-year-old Felix said in an Instagram video Thursday after an intense training session but before her name was taken off Saturday’s start list. “Never had a year where I took it easy. … Now that this is kind of a year without a championship, I’ve had to force myself to have a different approach because my goal is 2020. … To be able to be at my best when it counts, I think that means not having as intense of a year as I usually do. Being a competitor and an athlete, that’s something that I struggle with. … This year, that’s what I’m really trying to force myself to do is have quality races, quality over quantity. … So, if you guys don’t see me at as many of the races as I usually run, don’t worry, I’m fine, I’m just challenging myself to be smarter.”

Felix will miss the Pre Classic for the second time in the last nine years. She was absent in 2016 with an ankle injury.

The USATF Outdoor Championships are in one month.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

PRE CLASSIC: Full TV Schedule | Preview | Start Lists

Will Japan’s Olympic legend return for Tokyo 2020?

Getty Images
Leave a comment

NEW YORK — The Tokyo Olympics are in 790 days. Will Japan’s most dominant Olympian compete?

“She hasn’t decided yet,” a translator said beside wrestler Kaori Icho, who stood in street clothes, some given to her by an American host family, matside at the annual Beat the Streets meet on the edge of the East River on Manhattan last week.

Icho, who turns 34 on June 13, is the only woman to earn an individual gold medal at four Olympics. She has not wrestled in competition since capturing that fourth title in Rio. She has not announced retirement, either.

Icho once held a 13-year winning streak on the mat and owns 10 world championships.

While in New York, Icho did a high school clinic in Brooklyn (one wonders if the students knew they were learning from the greatest of all time), met Olympic and world champion Kyle Snyder (a particular highlight of this trip) and trained with Helen Maroulis before attending the meet as a spectator. In Rio, Maroulis became the first American woman to win an Olympic wrestling title.

Maroulis is familiar with Icho. In 2012, they trained together and drove to a Drake concert in Colorado. They met again in 2014. But last week was different. The most intense training they’ve shared. Their first full practice, said Maroulis, recently cleared from a January concussion.

“I think she’s coming back,” Maroulis said with confidence. Here’s why: “[Icho] busted out the video camera,” Maroulis went on. “Like, hey, can I record practice?

“She feels good. She’s still got it. She’s smaller than she was, obviously, right at the Olympics. She’s amazing. There’s so much to learn from her.”

Icho said through the translator that if she does come back, she would start in the next year rather than leaving it a few months before the Tokyo Games.

She is already the oldest woman to win Olympic wrestling gold (women’s wrestling was added to the Olympic program in 2004, Icho’s first Games). By 2020, she will be older than any men’s wrestling champion since Bulgarian Valentin Yordanov in 1996.

How much a home Olympics influences Icho’s decision is something that she didn’t share. Icho said she might go for a fifth Olympics even if the 2020 Games were not in Japan.

“It’s hard to say,” said Ken Marantz, who has covered sports in Japan for three decades. “She’s kind of a quiet person.”

United World Wrestling shadowed Icho and the more-famous Japanese wrestler Saori Yoshida before the Rio Olympics as both trained to go for their fourth gold medals. The international federation made a 20-minute documentary titled, “The Celebrity and the Samurai.”

Yoshida was the celebrity, her face a constant on TV, Icho the samurai, a zen-like warrior. Yoshida would lose in her Rio Olympic final to Maroulis, one day after Icho won her weight class.

“Kaori, she was always more private and less approachable, not in a bad way,” said William May, who has written about international wrestling for 30 years, including for Kyodo News in Tokyo. “She’s always been kind of a mystery to the Japanese.”

Like when she lived in Canada with her sister for months after the 2008 Olympics, skipping a world championships during her peak years.

“It’s not that I don’t like being on TV, but I don’t like my practice time being taken away or to lose time for myself,” Icho said in the 2016 United World Wrestling film.

Something else to consider is that Japan is the world power in women’s wrestling. It might be more difficult for Icho to earn Japan’s one available Olympic spot in the 58kg division than run through the Olympic bracket of the best from the rest of the world.

Japanese women took gold at the 2017 World Championships in both the 55kg and 60kg divisions. Those two women, both several years younger than Icho, must choose to go for the Olympics in the 53kg, 58kg or 63kg divisions.

Maroulis, who now competes at 58kg, wants to face Icho at the Olympics in what she called “a dream” matchup. The American’s dominance the last three years rivals Icho’s heyday — world titles in 2015 and 2017 without surrendering a point, winning the latter title with a torn thumb ligament, and dethroning Yoshida in Rio in between, all three golds at different weights while compiling a 78-1 record before the concussion.

Icho described her recent practice with Maroulis as “very hard.”

“She doesn’t quit,” Icho said through the translator. “She just keeps coming.”

Icho re-emerged in Japanese headlines in recent months as a tragic figure. A reported history of verbal harassment and threats from a Japanese Wrestling Federation director who resigned.

The biggest Japanese athlete story at the Tokyo Games would be if two-way baseball star Shohei Ohtani suited up, Marantz said. But Ohtani is on a Los Angeles Angels contract until 2024, which would keep him out of the Games unless MLB reverses its stance and releases players for the Olympics.

After that, perhaps Kohei Uchimura, the 2012 and 2016 Olympic all-around champion gymnast expected to compete in fewer events in the last years of his career. (Icho said that if she could pick anybody to light the Olympic cauldron, not including wrestlers, it would be Uchimura.)

Or the Japanese men’s 4x100m relay team that took silver in Rio and bronze at the 2017 Worlds. Or a rising group of table tennis players challenging the rival Chinese.

Swimming, gymnastics and judo are more popular sports in Japan than wrestling, Marantz said. But the nation would be pulling for Icho’s pursuit of individual gold in five Olympics, something no man or woman from any nation in any sport has done.

“Icho does not care one bit for records,” Tim Foley, who followed Icho for the 2016 film and escorted her in New York, said before the Rio Games. 

“Of course [Icho] wants to win, but it’s less important than wrestling a perfect match,” May said. That’s one thing she hasn’t done.

“I think she likes the challenge,” Marantz said. “Any tournaments that I went to that she won, which was all the ones she was in, she never, ever said she wrestled good.”

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Helen Maroulis wrestled in the dark with concussion