In exactly one week from today, the athletic world will take over social media as it does every 4 years. The constant stream of Trump and Clinton memes will cease, and for a few short weeks people will remember how much they like sports. And they should, because the Rio 2016 Olympic Games will be a spectacle for the ages. Legendary swimmer Michael Phelps will compete in his last Olympics (he really means it this time), gymnast Simone Biles will take the beam after winning several world championship titles, and sprinter Usain Bolt will race despite an injury a he suffered at the Jamaican trials. I’m stoked.
But as a native Michigander, I feel it is my duty to root for those athletes who also call this beautiful state home. That’s right, from the basketball court to the pool, Michigan is supplying 10 strong athletes for team USA. In case you haven’t been keeping track, here are their names, sports, and hometowns:
Draymond Green Basketball Saginaw
Claressa Shields Boxing Flint
Brent Bookwalter Cycling Grand Rapids
Alisha Glass Indoor Volleyball Leland
Grace Latz Rowing Jackson
Grace Luczak Rowing Ann Arbor
Ellen Tomek Rowing Flushing
Bora Gulari Sailing Detroit
Allison Schmitt Swimming Canton
Andrew Evans Track and Field Portage
Got it? Good. But before you don your stars and stripes gear and start chanting U-S-A, let’s get some quick background of our athletes to help us prepare.
Draymond Green played for MSU (Go Green!) and graduated in 2012. He was then picked in the NBA draft to play for the Golden State Warriors, where he has played for the past four years as a forward.
Not only was Claressa Shields the first American woman to take home gold in Boxing, but she was also the first American Boxer to win in back-to-back Olympic Games. She has a documentary detailing her journey called “T-REX”, and her fight to achieve victory in the face of adversity has become an inspiration to many.
Brent Bookwalter is a nine-time USA Cycling National Collegiate Champion who has been racing professionally for over 10 years. He graduated from Rockford High School and attended Lees-McRae College in North Carolina. He suffered a nasty cycling accident in 2007, which left him unable to compete for nearly a year, but got back on the bike determined to succeed despite his setback.
Allison Schmitt is a freestyler for USA swimming and won gold in the 200 meter freestyle in the 2012 Olympics. At one time she held the national record for the event, and will be returning as a key member of the 4×100 and 4×200 freestyle relays in Rio.
Well, it looks like Michigan has a pretty impressive roster on its hands. Spanning from the east side to the west side of the Lower Peninsula, these native-born athletes are stepping foot on the world stage next week. I’m excited to watch these athletes in Rio represent not only the U.S., but Michigan as well.
Which Michigan Olympian are you looking forward to watching the most? Tell us here at Michigan Creative!