100 Team USA athletes to watch on Road to Rio Olympics

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The U.S. Olympic team will include more than 500 athletes by Aug. 5, the date of the Rio Opening Ceremony.

Americans will compete in every sport in Rio except for handball, looking to top the medal standings for a sixth straight Olympics.

Here are 100 U.S. athletes to watch across those sports both in Brazil and over the next 100 days (those already qualified for the Olympics in italics):

1. Mackenzie Brown, Archery: No. 3 in the world, eyes first U.S. women’s medal since ’88
2. Brady Ellison, Archery: 2012 Olympic team silver medalist

3. Iris Wang, Badminton: Pan Am Games bronze medalist

4. Sue Bird, BasketballOne last run with Geno Auriemma?
5. Brittney Griner, Basketball: Opted out of 2012 Olympic consideration
6. Breanna Stewart, Basketball: Youngest U.S. Olympic women’s player since 1988?
7. Diana Taurasi, Basketball: 20 Olympic points shy of No. 2 all time for U.S. women
8. Stephen Curry, Basketball: Wasn’t among 20 finalists for 2012 team
9. Kevin Durant, Basketball: Leading U.S. scorer at London 2012
10. LeBron James, Basketball: With Carmelo Anthony, can become first three-time U.S. Olympic men’s basketball champions

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11. Claressa Shields, Boxing: 69-1 career record
12. Cam F. Awesome, Boxing: #TaylorSwiftOfBoxing
13. Shakur Stevenson, Boxing: Named after Tupac Shakur

14. Michal Smolen, Canoe/Kayak: World bronze medalist lived in Poland until age 10

15. Kristin Armstrong, Cycling: Two-time Olympic champion is a 42-year-old mom
16. Lea Davison, Cycling: 11th in mountain bike at London 2012
17. Sarah Hammer, Cycling: Hopes to be first U.S. women’s track gold medalist
18. Alise Post, CyclingEngaged to Australian BMX silver medalist Sam Willoughby
19. Evelyn Stevens, CyclingBroke UCI hour record in February
20. Connor Fields, Cycling: Missing May’s BMX Worlds after surgery for broken wrist
21. Taylor Phinney, Cycling: Fourth in 2012 Olympic road race and time trial

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22. Abby Johnston, Diving: Synchro springboard silver medalist; Duke medical student
23. David Boudia, Diving: Won London platform gold by 1.8 points
24. Troy Dumais, Diving: Could be oldest U.S. Olympic diver ever

25. Laura Graves, Equestrian: Hairstylist turned dressage rider
26. McLain Ward, Equestrian: 2004, 2008 team gold medalist; U.S. went medal-less in 2012

27. Alexander Massialas, Fencing: World No. 1 in foil; a U.S. man has never won gold
28. Ibtihaj Muhammad, Fencing: Set to be first U.S. Olympian to compete in hijab
29. Mariel Zagunis, Fencing: Most decorated U.S. fencer ever; London 2012 flag bearer

30. Katie O’Donnell, Field Hockey: Now 27, earned her first international cap at age 16

MORE: U.S. athletes qualified for Rio Olympics

31. Lexi Thompson, Golf: Played 2007 U.S. Women’s Open at age 12
32. Jordan Spieth, Golf: Two-time major winner has dreamed of walking in Opening Ceremony

33. Simone Biles, Gymnastics: Undefeated in all-arounds for nearly three years
34. Gabby Douglas, Gymnastics: First Olympic all-around champ to return since Nadia?
35. Aly Raisman, Gymnastics: Wants to better fourth-place finish from 2012 all-around
36. Danell Leyva, Gymnastics: Individual medalist at his last three Worlds and 2012 Olympics

37. Kayla Harrison, Judo: Pain-, sorrow-filled times since London Olympic gold
38. Nick Delpopolo, Judo: Expelled from London Games after testing positive for marijuana

39. Margaux Isaksen, Modern Pentathlon: Fourth in 2012, eyes first U.S. medal since ’00
40. Nathan Schrimsher, Modern Pentathlon: First U.S. athlete to qualify for Rio last July

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41. Meghan Musnicki, Rowing: Only 2012 Olympic champ in the 2015 Worlds eight
42. Katelin Snyder, Rowing: New eight coxswain, replacing retired Mary Whipple
43. Henrik Rummel, Rowing: Danish-born London fours bronze medalist

44. Jillion Potter, Rugby: Overcame cancer to captain U.S. women
45. Nate Ebner, Rugby: Patriots safety with a ’50-50′ shot at Rio
46. Madison Hughes, Rugby: Led U.S. to historic World Series title in London, his birthplace

47. Dave Hughes, Sailing: Coached the late Trevor Moore at 2012 Olympics

48. Kim Rhode, Shooting: Could earn an Olympic medal on fifth different continent
49. Matthew Emmons, Shooting: Cancer survivor earned medals in 2004, 2008, 2012
50. Vincent Hancock, Shooting: Two Olympic titles, three World titles in skeet

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51. Carli Lloyd, Soccer: Scored all U.S. goals in 2008 and 2012 Olympic finals
52. Alex Morgan, Soccer: Only one of five U.S. forwards from 2012 currently playing
53. Hope Solo, Soccer: Played every minute in 2008 and 2012 after being alternate in Athens

54. Natalie Coughlin, Swimming: Shares U.S. female record of 12 Olympic medals
55. Missy Franklin, Swimming: Goal is to break Coughlin’s record
56. Katie Ledecky, Swimming: Youngest on 2012 U.S. Olympic team now superstar
57. Dana Vollmer, Swimming: Fastest U.S. butterflier again, one year after baby
58. Nathan Adrian, Swimming: Won 2012 Olympic 100m freestyle by .01
59. Matt Grevers, Swimming: Olympic champ ceded World backstroke crown to Aussie
60. Ryan Lochte, Swimming: Injuries, coaching change since starring role in London
61. Michael Phelps, Swimming: Still best U.S. male swimmer after retirement, suspension
62. Jordan Wilimovsky, Swimming: Open-water 10km World champion

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63. Anita Alvarez, Synchronized Swimming: Former prep swimmer qualified in duet with Mariya Koroleva

64. Lily Zhang, Table Tennis: First U.S. Olympian to then make Youth Olympics
65. Kanak Jha, Table Tennis: First American born in 2000s to qualify for Olympics

66. Jackie Galloway, Taekwondo: 2012 Olympic alternate for Mexico
67. Steven Lopez, Taekwondo: Has made every Olympic taekwondo team

68. Serena Williams, Tennis: Went 22-0 in sets at London 2012 (singles and doubles)
69. Venus Williams, Tennis: Can play in record fifth Olympic singles tournament
70. Bob Bryan, Tennis: His 2012 gold medal is ‘not even a circle anymore’
71. Mike Bryan, Tennis: Earned mixed doubles bronze with Lisa Raymond in 2012

72. Tori Bowie, Track and Field: Converted long jumper earned World 100m bronze
73. Vashti Cunningham, Track and FieldRandall’s daughter is high jump prodigy
74. Allyson Felix, Track and Field
: Eyes a Michael Johnson-like 200m-400m double
75. Dawn Harper-Nelson, Track and Field: May win second gold or miss deep team
76. Brittney Reese, Track and Field: Could be first repeat women’s long jump champ
77. Sanya Richards-Ross, Track and Field: Plans to defend 400m crown, retire
78. Jenn Suhr, Track and Field
: May defend pole vault title vs. Brazil track and field star
79. Trayvon Bromell, Track and Field: 2015 World 100m co-bronze medalist at age 20
80. Ashton Eaton, Track and Field: One half of world’s most athletic couple
81. Justin Gatlin, Track and Field: Faster than Usain Bolt in ’14, ’15, save a few strides
82. Meb Keflezighi, Track and Field: Oldest U.S. Olympic runner ever
83. Joe Kovacs, Track and Field: Shot put champ first coached by mom in parking lot
84. Aries Merritt, Track and Field: 110m hurdles champ had kidney transplant Sept. 1
85. Christian Taylor, Track and Field: Switched takeoff legs since winning London 2012 triple jump

86. Gwen Jorgensen, Triathlon: Won 13 straight top-level events from 2014 until April 9

87. April Ross, Beach Volleyball: Silver medalist in London with Jennifer Kessy
88. Kerri Walsh Jennings, Beach Volleyball:
 Teamed with Ross after third child in 2013
89. Phil Dalhausser, Beach Volleyball: 2008 Olympic champion with Todd Rogers
90. Nick Lucena, Beach Volleyball:
 Reunited with Dalhausser in 2015 after 10 years apart

91. Jordan Larson-Burbach, Volleyball: Player of the Year for the World champions
92. Matt Anderson, Volleyball: Back from a break due to depression, homesickness and stress

93. Ashleigh Johnson, Water Polo: Star goalie not from sport’s typical background
94. Maggie Steffens, Water Polo: 2012 Olympic gold-medal team MVP at age 19
95. Tony Azevedo, Water Polo: Born in Rio, seeks fifth U.S. Olympic berth

96. Sarah Robles, Weightlifting: Top U.S. finisher at Worlds (sixth), after two-year steroid ban

97. Adeline Gray, Wrestling: World champ is undefeated since July 2014
98. Helen Maroulis, Wrestling: May have to beat legendary Saori Yoshida for gold
99. Jordan Burroughs, Wrestling: 124-2 senior record, including 2012 Olympic title
100. Kyle Snyder, Wrestling: Youngest U.S. Olympic freestyle wrestler in 40 years

MORE: U.S. athletes qualified for Rio Olympics

Amy Cragg to withdraw from U.S. Olympic marathon trials

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Defending champion Amy Cragg will miss the Feb. 29 U.S. Olympic marathon trials with an illness, according to her social media.

“The Trials are the reason I have shown up every day for the last four years, so this has been an extremely difficult decision,” was posted on her social media. Cragg later said she had Epstein-Barr virus, according to multiple reports.

Cragg, 36, was among the favorites to grab three Olympic spots at trials in Atlanta, despite not having competed over 26.2 miles since the February 2018 Tokyo Marathon.

She withdrew from the 2018 Chicago Marathon with a hamstring injury and also scratched a month before the 2019 Chicago Marathon, citing signs pointing to needing more time after the previous year’s injury.

Cragg, fourth at the 2012 Olympic trials, relegated Des Linden and Shalane Flanagan to second and third at the 2016 trials. Linden and Flanagan went on to win the Boston and New York City Marathons, respectively, ending long U.S. women’s victory droughts.

Cragg went on to finish ninth in Rio and earn a 2017 World bronze medal, the first world championships marathon podium finish for an American woman since the first worlds in 1983.

Cragg could still make the Tokyo Olympic team in the 10,000m if she races at track trials in June. She won the 2012 Olympic trials 10,000m but hasn’t raced the distance on the track since May 2017.

“Right now my only goal is to get healthy so that I can train at the level needed to be competitive,” Cragg said in an emailed message from her agent. “That being said, the reason I am still in this sport is because of the Olympic Trials and Olympics. It is what excites me more than anything, so it is something I would still love to do.”

With Cragg absent and Flanagan retired, Linden is the only woman in next week’s field with Olympic marathon experience.

Other favorites include Olympic 10,000m runner Molly Huddle, world championships 10,000m runner Emily Sisson and Jordan Hasay, the second-fastest U.S. female marathoner in history.

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Galen Rupp, after tumult, finds familiarity before Olympic marathon trials

Galen Rupp
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As Galen Rupp bids for a fourth Olympics, and perhaps become the first man or woman to win the Olympic marathon trials twice outright, he found some rare familiarity these days on the roads Feb. 8.

“Feeling like my old self again,” Rupp said Wednesday of winning a low-key half marathon in Mesa, Ariz., his first completed race in 16 months and since parting from now-banned, career-long coach Alberto Salazar. “It’s obviously been a long year and a half.”

Rupp clocked 61 minutes, 19 seconds on a downhill course. It’s faster than any half marathon by an American recorded by World Athletics since the start of 2019. Granted the downhill, but Rupp also said he was instructed by new coach Mike Smith to make it a controlled effort.

“He didn’t want me to run all-out, didn’t want me to really push and put myself in a big hole,” Rupp said, noting he was still in heavy training. “You don’t want to break that [training] up and put yourself in a deficit by having a massive effort.”

Mesa answered questions about Rupp’s readiness for the Olympic trials in Atlanta on Feb. 29 (NBC, 12-3 p.m. ET). Even to the two-time Olympic medalist himself. Rupp said he started the half marathon with a little bit of doubt — given recent left ankle and calf injuries — but felt early on that everything would be fine.

“It really put my mind at ease,” he said. “I’m going to be good for the marathon.”

His last two marathons did not go well.

At the 2018 Chicago Marathon, Rupp dropped from the leaders around mile 19 and finished fifth in a title defense. An Achilles injury flared up near the end. He underwent surgery later that month for two tears. Doctors said the ankle had been “a ticking time bomb.”

“They said I was really lucky to have as good of health as I had and manage it as I did,” Rupp said.

He went a full year before racing again, at the Chicago Marathon on Oct. 13, 12 days after Salazar’s ban was announced. Even that was a rushed comeback, Rupp said after dropping out around mile 23 with a calf injury.

“I’m not going to say it was a wake-up call,” Rupp said, “but I think I was a little bit stubborn before Chicago.”

Rupp said he ran through pain in training to get to the start line four months ago. He had trouble walking for several days after the abbreviated race and focused on physical therapy for about two months. He resumed normal, pain-free training in December.

By early January, Runner’s World reported that Oregon-based Rupp found a new Flagstaff-based coach in Smith, who leads a Northern Arizona University program that won the last three NCAA men’s cross-country titles.

“The biggest thing to me was Mike’s philosophy in coaching was very similar to the program that I was under for so many years,” said Rupp, who was for more than a decade part of the Nike Oregon Project, which was shut down last fall after Salazar’s ban for doping violations (which he appealed). Rupp wasn’t implicated by USADA and has a clean drug-testing record. “What I love most about it was Mike’s honesty and how forthright he was about everything. You could tell he wasn’t just saying what I wanted to hear or say, ‘We’re just going to do whatever you’ve been doing and try and replicate that.’ You’ve got to keep evolving and trying new things.”

Smith declined an interview request through NAU until after trials. He agreed to coach Rupp after about a month of communication and hard questions, according to Runner’s World.

“Because of its timing and the headlines I was reading like everyone else at the time, this was not a road I wanted to go down,” Smith said, according to the report. “To be honest, it was just easiest to turn it down. I’m actually — as crazy as this sounds — really proud I did not.

“What I found out by getting to know Galen was that there was much more going on than the picture portrayed of him, and I wish the world knew that. I have never seen someone more all-in in my life.”

Rupp, asked his toughest moment of the last two years, said he moves forward.

“Throughout any hardships and setbacks, I felt a lot of gratitude that I had as good of a run as I did with my health and everything going well for as long as I did,” he said. “It can be easy to get angry and get down, like why me, but I do believe that things always work out. There’s a reason behind all this stuff.”

Which brings Rupp to Atlanta next week for the first time in his life, aside from airport layovers. The race is unlike any other he has contested. The course is unusually hilly. The format — Americans only, top three make the Olympic team — makes for different tactics than the World Marathon Majors that Rupp is used to.

In 2016, Rupp entered as a favorite but without any marathon experience. He won convincingly, pulling away from now-retired Meb Keflezighi by 68 seconds.

The field is deeper this year. Seven Americans broke 2:11 in 2019. Only one did in 2015. But Rupp, at his best, is in his own class.

His personal best 2:06:07, from his last healthy marathon in 2018, is 1:49 faster than the second-fastest in the trials field in this Olympic cycle (Leonard Korir). The next-fastest, Scott Fauble, is more than three minutes behind by personal bests.

“I can confidently go in and say that I’ve put in the work for this, just like I know that I put in the work in 2016,” Rupp said. “Of course, you want to go in and have good races, feeling confident and being on a roll like I was several years ago. But I think that’s why that race in Mesa was so important to show, more to myself, that hey, you’re ready to go. You can still run well. You haven’t lost everything. Surgery didn’t wipe you out.”

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