By Todd Kortemeier and Chrös McDougall | Sept. 06, 2018, 1:33 p.m. (ET)

Noah Lyles celebrates after winning the men's 100-meter final at USATF Outdoor Championships on June 22, 2018 in Des Moines, Iowa.

 

Since the Youth Olympic Games debuted in 2010, the event has sought to do more than just bring the top young athletes together for an Olympic-style competition. The event also emphasizes culture, cooperation, education and other aspects of Olympism.

The event sure features some great athletes, though.

With one month to go before the third edition of the Summer Youth Olympic Games begin in Buenos Aires, we took a look at some of the U.S. Youth Olympians from the first two editions — in 2010 in Singapore, and 2014 in Nanjing, China — who went on to achieve major success at the senior levels of their sports.


Singapore 2010
(L-R) Alexander Massialas at the 2010 Summer Youth Olympic Games and the Olympic Games Rio 2016.

 

Micha Hancock (volleyball): After the YOG, Hancock attended Penn State, where she was a three-time All-American and National Player of the Year in 2014. Internationally, the setter was named MVP of the 2017 Pan American Cup. In July, she led Team USA to the gold medal and $1 million prize at the inaugural FIVB Women’s Nations League Final.

Michael Hixon (diving): After winning a bronze medal in 1-meter at the 2015 world championships, Hixon made his Olympic debut in 2016 and won the silver medal with Sam Dorman in synchronized 3-meter. Hixon just completed his senior season at Indiana, in which he was a national champion in 1-meter.

Katharine Holmes (fencing): Holmes won gold in individual and team at the 2015 Pan American Games and made her Olympic debut in Rio the next year. Holmes graduated from Princeton in 2017 with a degree in psychology, and served as a volunteer assistant coach this past season while still competing internationally. Her international season was stellar, featuring the U.S. women’s epee team’s first world cup gold and first world championship gold.

Ariel Hsing (table tennis): The same year she competed in Singapore, Hsing became the youngest national table tennis champion in history at the age of 15. She made her Olympic debut in 2012, then played at Princeton. She graduated in 2017 and is now a business analyst in New York.

Miranda Leek (archery): The same year she graduated high school, Leek won two silver medals at the 2011 Pan American Games, then made her Olympic debut in London the next year. She graduated from Texas A&M in 2016 and is currently the archery education coordinator with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Alexander Massialas (fencing): The son of an Olympic fencer, Massialas has made history with Team USA as a member of the first U.S. men’s foil team to win a medal at the world championships, and becoming the first U.S. foil fencer to win an individual silver medal at worlds. He is a two-time Olympian (2012 and 2016) and two-time Olympic medalist (silver and bronze in 2016).

Kevin McDowell (triathlon): Just one year after winning silver in Singapore, McDowell was diagnosed with cancer. After an aggressive course of treatment, he returned to racing in May 2012. McDowell won the silver medal at the 2015 Pan American Games and is a four-time medalist on the ITU World Cup circuit. This season he was part of the U.S. team that won bronze at mixed relay worlds.

Nathan Schrimsher (modern pentathlon): With a bronze medal at the 2015 Pan American Games, Schrimsher became the first member of the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team. While continuing to compete internationally, Schrimsher also serves in the Army.  

Kiah Stokes (basketball): After the YOG, Stokes returned to Linn-Mar High School in Marion, Iowa, where she became a 2011 McDonald’s, Parade Magazine and WBCA All-American. She went on to UConn where she won three national championships, then was drafted 11th overall by the New York Liberty in 2015.

Savannah Vinsant (trampoline): Vinsant became the first American to ever make it to the trampoline finals of an Olympic Games, finishing sixth in 2012. After taking time off to start a family and open her own gym, she made a comeback to the trampoline and won the national championship in July.

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Nanjing 2014
(L-R) Richelle Stephens competes at the 2014 Summer Youth Olympic Games and the Olympic Games Rio 2016.

 

Nicole Ahsinger (trampoline): Two years after her YOG debut, Ahsinger made her Olympic debut in the Rio Games. Now 20, she remains one of the top U.S. athletes in the sport, having won the U.S. title in 2017 and finished second this year.

Napheesa Collier (basketball): One of the top prep players in the country, Collier was a finalist for the 2015 Naismith Prep Player of the Year award before enrolling at UConn, where she won the 2016 national title. Now 21, she is among the finalist for the U.S. team for the FIBA World Cup and begins her senior season at UConn this fall.

TJ DeFalco (beach volleyball): A standout both on the beach and on the court, the Long Beach State junior turned down an opportunity to join a pro team earlier this year and went on to lead the Cougars to a NCAA title. He later helped the U.S. indoor team win bronze at the FIVB Volleyball Nations League this summer.

Adonis Diaz (judo): Still a rising star in the sport, Diaz competed at his first world championships in 2017. The 22-year-old already has a handful of senior international medals to his name.

Sofia Kenin (tennis): Still just 19 years old, the Moscow-born Kenin won two matches at the 2018 US Open to reach the final 32. She broke into the WTA Top 100 earlier this year.

Noah Lyles (track and field): Don’t look now, but Lyles, 21, just enjoyed a breakout season in which he put up the world’s best 200-meter time and the third-best 100-meter time. He also became the youngest U.S. champ in 34 years when he won the 100 this summer, and last month he added the Diamond League Trophy for the 200.

Arike Ogunbowale (basketball): A 2016 McDonald’s High School All-America, Ogunbowale went on to Notre Dame, where the accolades kept pouring in. As a junior last season, she was the Final Four Most Outstanding Player in leading the Irish to the national title, then competed on “Dancing with the Stars.”

Katie Lou Samuelson (basketball): The 2015 national high school player of the year according to several organizations, Samuelson led UConn to the 2016 national title as a freshman. Now going into her senior season, the 21-year-old guard is one of the nation’s best players and part of the national team pool.

Richelle Stephens (rugby): Stephens won a silver medal at the 2015 Pan American Games and then joined Team USA in Rio, where the team finished fifth in the sport’s Olympic debut. Stephens, now 22, continued her rugby career at Lindenwood University in Missouri.

Shakur Stevenson (boxing): Two years after winning gold in Nanjing, Stevenson won a silver medal in Rio, the best finish for a U.S. male boxer since 2004. Now 21, he has been a professional boxer since 2017 and is considered a top prospect in the featherweight division.

Alec Yoder (gymnastics): A standout on the pommel horse, Yoder, 21, won his first national title on that apparatus this summer. Competing collegiately for Ohio State, Yoder was third in the all-around at the 2018 NCAA Championships.

Laura Zeng (rhythmic gymnastics): Still just 18 years old, Zeng has already set the standard for American rhythmic gymnasts. The U.S. all-around champion every year since her senior debut 2015, Zeng also tied for the best U.S. finish at the Olympics (11th in 2016) and notched the highest all-around finish ever by an American at worlds (sixth in 2017).

Lily Zhang (table tennis): The 22-year-old is already a two-time Olympian, having competed in both 2012 and ’16. She also won singles bronze and team gold at the 2015 Pan Am Games. Much of her success has come while balancing classes at UC-Berkeley.

Todd Kortemeier and Chrös McDougall are freelance contributors to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.