The Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 run July 24-Aug. 9, 2020, with the Paralympic Games following Aug. 25-Sept. 6, and while they may be months away there’s a lot to learn on your quest to becoming the ultimate fan. Each Tuesday leading up to the Games, TeamUSA.org will present a nugget you should read about – from athletes to watch to storylines to follow to Japanese culture and landmarks – as part of “Tokyo 2020 Tuesday.” Follow along on social media with the hashtag #Tokyo2020Tuesday.
Eventually more than 600 U.S. athletes are expected to qualify for the 2020 U.S. Olympic Team, and another 200-plus more will represent the country on the U.S. Paralympic Team. With the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 fast approaching, 28 athletes have already qualified for the Olympic Games by name, while four have done so on the Paralympic side.
As we close the book on 2019 and head into the Olympic and Paralympic year, here’s a look at Team USA so far.
Samantha Achterberg (Modern Pentathlon)
With her silver medal at the Pan American Games Lima 2019 in July, Achterberg, a U.S. Army Specialist from Littleton, Colorado, clinched her spot in her first Olympics. The 27-year-old Achterberg rose from eighth place to second following a strong performance in the laser run in Lima, Peru.
Haley Anderson (Swimming)
Team USA’s first qualifier for the Tokyo Games, Anderson clinched her third Olympic berth when she won the silver medal in the open water 10-kilometer event at the world championships in July. Anderson, now 28, is already the first American to win an Olympic medal in open-water swimming thanks to her 10K silver medal in 2012.
Haley Anderson competes at the 2019 FINA World Championships on July 18, 2019 in Yeosu, South Korea.
Kolohe Andino (Surfing)
A true surfing lifer, Andino added to his growing legacy in October when he became the first American surfer to secure a spot in the Tokyo Games, where the sport makes its Olympic debut. Andino, of San Clemente, California, qualified by merit of his ranking on the World Surf League Men’s Championship Tour. He finishes the season a career-best fifth overall and as the top American.
Nathaniel Coleman (Climbing)
It was a Thanksgiving to remember for Coleman, a 22-year-old Utahn who became the first U.S. man to qualify for the Games in climbing. Coleman began climbing at an indoor gym at age 9 and became one of the country’s best boulderers. In Tokyo, Coleman and the other climbers will compete in the relatively untested combined event that features the three major disciplines: bouldering, lead and speed.
Kyra Condie (Climbing)
Condie, a Minnesota native, clinched the second and final U.S. women’s climbing berth for Tokyo by merit of her Black Friday performance at a qualifying event in France. Now 23, she developed into an elite climber following major back surgery at age 12 to correct scoliosis.
Chloé Dygert (Cycling)
Dygert became the first U.S. cyclist to qualify for the Tokyo Games when she won — make that dominated — the time trial world championship in September in England. At 22, she became the youngest time trial world champ ever, and did so by a record margin. Perhaps most impressive? Dygert is already a 2016 Olympic silver medalist and multi-time world champion in track cycling, and she’s also aiming to clinch a spot in Tokyo in that discipline, too.
Chloé Dygert competes at the Panamerican Games Lima 2019 on Aug. 7, 2019 in Lima, Peru.
Amro Elgeziry (Modern Pentathlon)
Already a three-time Olympian for his native Egypt, Elgeziry, 32, clinched his first Olympic berth since switching to Team USA with a fifth-place finish at the Pan Am Games. He’s the Olympic record holder in the swimming portion of the event.
John John Florence (Surfing)
The brightest star in his sport nearly missed out on surfing’s Olympic debut when he tore his ACL midway through the 2019 WSL season. Against all odds, however, the two-time world champ from Hawaii managed to get back in time for the tour finale in December and did enough to hold off surfing legend Kelly Slater for the last spot on Team USA. The 27-year-old was in first place at the time of his injury.
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Tahl Leibovitz (Para Table Tennis)
Homeless as a teenager in New York City, Liebovitz discovered table tennis at a Boys & Girls Club and found his passion. Already a USA Table Tennis Hall of Famer, Liebovitz will compete in his sixth Paralympic Games in Tokyo, where he’ll look to win his fourth medal. He won gold at his Paralympic debut in 1996 in Atlanta.
Caroline Marks (Surfing)
A true phenom in her sport, the 17-year-old 2018 rookie of the year Marks overcame a veteran teammate to clinch an Olympic berth at the final WSL Women’s Championship Tour event of the season. Marks came into the finale ranked third, behind two U.S. teammates, and only two could qualify for Tokyo. With her eighth top-five finish across the 10-event tour, Marks did enough to leapfrog Lakey Peterson to finish the year second — and with the coveted Olympic berth.
Tatyana McFadden (Para Track and Field)
After more than a decade of competing on the top level, five Paralympic Games (four summer, one winter), and 17 Paralympic medals (seven golds), there’s not much McFadden hasn’t accomplished yet. In Tokyo, though, she’ll go after her first gold medal in the marathon, an event in which the 30-year-old had unprecedented success outside the Games.
Carissa Moore (Surfing)
Hawaii native Moore clinched her Olympic spot — and her fourth world title — on the waters of her home state in the Women’s Championship Tour finale earlier this month. Moore, 27, has been one of the best surfers in the world since her CT debut in 2010 and was the first U.S. women’s surfer to qualify for Tokyo, where she’ll no doubt be a favorite as the sport makes its Olympic debut.
Carissa Moore looks on at the Maui Pro on Dec. 1, 2019 in Honolua Bay, Hawaii.
Brooke Raboutou (Climbing)
In a newish discipline where results are still trickier to predict, Raboutou took the drama out of Olympic qualifying by earning her berth at the first opportunity. The 18-year-old from Boulder, Colorado, became the first U.S. climber to qualify for the Olympics by merit of her ninth-place finish at the world championships in August. The daughter of two multiple-time climbing world cup champions, Raboutou has been climbing almost as long as she’s been walking.
Summer Rappaport (Triathlon)
In a wild finish, Rappaport became the first U.S. triathlete to qualify for Tokyo when she surged ahead to finish as the top American at an Olympic qualification event in August in Tokyo. The result continued an impressive season for the 28-year-old, who reached the podium at three World Triathlon Series events in a row.
Daniel Romanchuk (Para Track and Field)
Romanchuk qualified for Tokyo at the 2019 Chicago Marathon, where his meteoric rise began one year earlier. Between Chicagos, he also won at New York City, Boston and London and became the first U.S. man to win a World Marathon Majors series title. The 21-year-old competed at Rio in 2016 on the track, and is likely to be seen on the track in Tokyo as well, depending on the results of next June’s Paralympic trials.
Susannah Scaroni (Para Track and Field)
Scaroni, 28, will compete in her third Paralympic marathon in Tokyo, after finishing eighth in London and seventh in Rio. Like fellow U.S. marathoners McFadden and Romanchuk, she trains with the University of Illinois wheelchair racing team.
Susannah Scaroni celebrates at the IPC World Para Athletics Championships on Nov. 13, 2019 in Dubai.
Ashley Twichell (Swimming)
Twichell became the second U.S. athlete to qualify for Tokyo, behind Anderson, when she finished sixth in the open water 10K at the world championships. At age 31 in Tokyo, she’s on track to be the oldest U.S. Olympic rookie swimmer since 1908. Twichell has competed at four world championships, winning 5K gold in 2017, prior to making her first Olympic team. Her result also ensured Team USA qualified two women in open water swimming for the first time.
Jordan Wilimovsky (Swimming)
Wilimovsky became the first U.S. man to qualify for the Tokyo Games when he finished fifth in the 10K at the world championships. The Tokyo Games will be his second, after he finished fifth in the 10K in Rio, where he also became the first American swimmer to qualify in both open water and the pool at one Games. Wilimovsky, 25, won a 10K world title in 2015.
U.S. Olympic Softball Team
The U.S. women’s softball team needed to wait 12 years to get redemption after its surprise loss to Japan in the 2008 Olympic gold-medal game. Presented with another opportunity to perform at the Olympic level once again in 2020, the Americans weren’t messing around. They qualified for the Tokyo Games at their first opportunity, in August 2018, when they also defeated host Japan to win the world title — their second in a row and 11th program history. In October, the team announced the 15 players who will travel to Tokyo and attempt to win back the Olympic gold medal. Although other U.S. teams have qualified for Tokyo, softball is the only one to name a roster so far. Meet the 15:
- Monica Abbott – The youngest player on the 2008 U.S. team that won a silver medal in Beijing rejoined the national team for Tokyo, and at 34 the left-handed pitcher and Tennessee grad remains a true ace.
- Ali Aguilar – A 24-year-old infielder, the former Washington Huskies standout is already a two-time world champ.
- Valerie Arioto – The infielder and Cal alum hit a massive .611 with seven home runs and 18 RBIs at the 2016 world championships, which the U.S. won.
- Ally Carda – A pitcher and infielder, Carda is a UCLA grad and 2016 world champ.
- Amanda Chidester – The catcher and former Michigan Wolverine was a force at the plate at the 2016 world championships, hitting seven home runs with 18 RBIs on a .591 batting average.
- Rachel Garcia – A pitcher and infielder, the UCLA star had a walk-off hit to beat Japan in the 2018 world championships semifinals.
- Haylie McCleney – An outfielder who played at Alabama, McCleney has played in four world championships and led the U.S. with a .520 batting average in 2018.
- Michelle Moultrie – The veteran outfielder who played college ball at Florida has been a stalwart for Team USA throughout the decade and won her fourth world championships medal in 2018.
- Dejah Mulipola – A catcher who plays at Arizona, Mulipola has yet to play at a senior world championships but won a junior world title in 2017.
- Aubree Munro – The catcher who played collegiately at Florida had a key hit to keep the rally going late in the 2018 world championships title game, where she won her second world title.
- Bubba Nickles – The utility player was anything but ordinary at the 2017 junior world championships, where the UCLA star set tournament records for hits (20), batting average (.690), RBIs (30) and home runs (six).
- Cat Osterman – A dominant pitcher during the aughts, Osterman won an Olympic gold medal in 2004 and a silver medal in 2008, and now the former Texas Longhorn is back in search of another gold medal in 2020.
- Janie Reed – Reed, an outfielder who played at Oregon, has batted at least .360 at each of her world championships.
- Delaney Spaulding – The former UCLA Bruin, an infielder, scored the game-tying run in the 2018 world-title game, helping secure her second world championship.
- Kelsey Stewart – A utility player who played collegiately at Florida, her walk-off single secured the 2018 world title.
Chrös McDougall has covered the Olympic and Paralympic movements for TeamUSA.org since 2009 on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc. He is based in Minneapolis-St. Paul.