The U.S. Olympic Trials will determine which athletes represent Team USA at the 2021 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.
We’re always awestruck by the dedication and hard work these athletes display, but some of the stories coming out of this year’s trials are downright inspiring!
1. There’s just something about the name Katie.
Nine years ago, swimmer Katie Ledecky was just 15 years old when she qualified to join Team USA at the Olympic Games in London, England. She has dominated the sport ever since.
Ledecky is back for the Tokyo Games in 2021, and by her side is another 15-year-old wunderkind… who also happens to be named Katie! At the U.S. Olympic Team Trials in Omaha, Nebraska, Katie Grimes beat her previous best 800-meter time by a solid 11 seconds to win the second spot on the podium next to her role model and name twin, Katie Ledecky!
2. Allyson Felix has something to prove at the Tokyo Games.
Allyson Felix is the most decorated woman in the history of track and field sprinting. She’s racked up 18 medals at the World Athletics Championships throughout her career, along with an astounding 13 total Olympic medals. If she wins just one more medal at the 2021 Games, she’ll tie Carl Lewis as the most decorated U.S. Olympic track and field athlete of all time!
Felix is going into her fifth Olympic Games with something more to prove this summer. The mom wants to show her 2-year-old daughter that anything is possible!
3. Jordan Windle started out as an orphan. Now he’s an Olympian!
Diver Jordan Windle was just a year old when his parents died in his native Cambodia. He was placed in an orphanage, where he suffered deplorable conditions until American Jerry Windle adopted him.
With Jerry’s constant love, support, and encouragement, Jordan has won four U.S. senior titles and is headed to Tokyo with Team USA in 2021!
4. He didn’t just qualify; he shattered a world record!
Ryan Crouser is a 28-year-old shot put and discus thrower. He won the gold medal for shot put in Rio de Janeiro back in 2016, but this year, he had more on his mind than simply qualifying for Team USA. He was eying the indoor and outdoor shot put world records that have narrowly evaded him for years.
On the first day of the U.S. Olympic Trials, he finally did it!
5. The fastest woman in America couldn’t wait to hug her grandma.
Sha’Carri Richardson blew everyone away by winning the 100-meter race and qualifying for a spot on Team USA, but it was what she did afterward that melted our hearts. She couldn’t wait to run to the stands to give her grandmother a huge hug!
6. Syrian refugee becomes first athlete to be invited to IOC Refugee Olympic Team.
Aram Mahmoud is one of the best badminton players in the world, but he has never been able to compete in the Olympic Games because of his legal nationality status.
Years ago, he was forced to leave his war-torn home country of Syria in search of greater opportunities in sports. He now lives in the Netherlands, where he became the first person recruited for the 29-member IOC Refugee Olympic Team!
7. Swimmer dances before races, and we are totally here for it.
When swimmer Sierra Schmidt gets nervous, she likes to dance. Just ahead of the 1500-meter race, her nerves were building up, so she did what she had to do by busting a move! While she didn’t win one of the two qualifying spots, she did go viral and is inspiring all of us to dance like no one is watching.
We can’t wait to see these athletes compete at the 2021 Olympic Games in Tokyo! No matter what happens, they’re all winners in our book.
Share these stories to cheer them on.
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