For most people going to Rio, their to-do list includes things like going to the beaches, seeing the Christ the Redeemer statue and going up Sugarloaf Mountain. And Team USA is no different. But a few athletes added some crazier musts to their lists, like paragliding and BASE jumping! See where you can find these 10 Team USA athletes when they head down to the second-largest city in Brazil next month.
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Kayla Banwarth, Volleyball
"I haven’t been to Rio, but I’ve heard so many good things about the city — about how lively and vibrant and fun it is down there. So I’m looking forward to experiencing that culture. I would love to see Copacabana, Ipanema, those beaches."
Casey Eichfeld, Canoe/Kayak
"The main thing for me is to get to spend some time with my family in a different country. Normally, I’m there by myself or with just my teammates, so it’s fun to share that. I do hope to do a little bit of tourism. I’d like to get up to Christ the Redeemer. I didn’t get to do that last time. I got to the beaches last time, which was nice and I’d like to go to Sugarloaf."
Connor Fields, BMX
"The thing that I really want to do that I didn’t get to do last time was see other events. I will literally see anything. You give me tickets and an American is competing and I’m going to go scream for them. Soccer would be incredible to see in Brazil. The atmosphere of basketball men’s final will be insane. And track and field and gymnastics would be cool."
Blake Haxton, Paralympic Rowing
"I have a bunch of friends who promised to go down. Most are buddies I’ve known since middle school that have really been with me the whole way. These are the guys who can tell you the stories better than I can because they remember it. They’re all going to go together, so just hanging out with them and hopefully getting some time outside to go do stuff. We definitely want to check out Copacabana — the whole waterfront area is on the list. Other than that we’ll just wing it, as we’ve never been to a Games before."
Daryl Homer, Fencing
"In Brazil, I would love to pick up some samba skills, and if it can be arranged, I'd also love to visit the favelas."
Seth Jahn, Paralympic Soccer
"I know this sounds crazy but I actually want to do a BASE jump off the Christ the Redeemer statue. I don’t think my coaching staff would be too fond of that. I would definitely love to see that, though. I love being immersed in the culture and seeing how people live and seeing their language and every aspect of it. I am also a foodie so I love food from all over the world. I’m stoked about that, but my nutritionist might not be."
Trevon Jenifer, Wheelchair Basketball
"I would love to get some sightseeing in, but we’ll see. One of the common misconceptions that a lot of people have about Olympic and Paralympic athletes is that we travel to all these places. But all we see is hotel, venue, venue, hotel. So hopefully we’ll get a day or two to get out there and see some things. When we were at the Closing Ceremony in London, they put on a show to handover the Games to Rio and we saw their dancers — after that, I’m excited to see more. I am a big fan of learning the culture."
Sam Mikulak, Gymnastics
"Don’t let my coach hear, but I kind of want to go hang gliding. That might have to wait until after the Olympics, though. It might just be a little risky."
Jamie Whitmore, Paralympic Cycling
"I did XTERRA Brazil back in 2005 and I remember the food being really good. I cannot wait to get endless amounts of acai. Coconut water. The beef. They are very big into their barbecuing."
Mariel Zagunis, Fencing
"I think I’ll have about a week after I’m done competing to enjoy the Games so I always try to see other sports. That’s always something you should try to take advantage of when you’re down there because it’s the highest level of competition in the world with the best athletes in the world."