The Summer Olympic Games are scheduled to open in Tokyo on Friday. (And yes, they're still calling it Tokyo 2020 since they were originally supposed to be held last year, but were postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.)
For two weeks, all eyes will be on the world’s best athletes. It will serve as a testament to the power of sports to unify and a celebration of how hard these athletes worked to get to their level. The fact that the Olympics are happening at all acts as a signal of normalcy to the world after a year and a half of pandemic protocols.
However, this year's Olympics, dampened by rising COVID cases in Japan and the continuing global battle against the virus, will be considerably different than years' past. There won't be any in-person spectators, and there are strict rules for athletes in the Olympic Village.
Less than a third of Japan's population is fully vaccinated. Tokyo, which is currently in its fourth state of emergency, logged cases at a six-month high just one week before the games are set to begin. Some athletes in the Olympic Village have begun to test positive, including an American woman who is an alternate for the gymnastics team.
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This is the fourth time Japan has hosted the Olympics, and Tokyo's second time hosting the Summer Games. (A full guide on where to stream events is available from NBC.)
There are more than 600 members of the U.S. Olympic team heading across the Pacific under these unprecedented circumstances. That includes at least 30 athletes who call New England home.
Here's a look at our local athletes representing Team USA, in no particular order:
Austin Hack was born in Springfield, Massachusetts, and raised in Old Lyme, Connecticut. He graduated from Stanford University in 2014, with a degree in political science. He'll compete in the men's eight team, as he did in the 2016 Rio Olympics, where they came in fourth place.
Liam Corrigan is from Old Lyme, Connecticut. He graduated from Harvard University in 2019 and will make his Olympic debut as part of the men's four team.
Gia Doonan is from Rochester, Massachusetts, and graduated from the the University of Texas at Austin in 2017. She will compete in the Olympics for the first time as part of the women's eight team.
Conor Harrity is also a first-time Olympian and hails from Weston, Massachusetts. He graduated from Harvard University in 2018, where he served as team captain of the rowing team. He'll be competing in the men's eight team.
Cicely Madden is from Weston, Massachusetts, and attended Brown University. As a senior in 2018, she was awarded the highly coveted Frederick W. “Doc” Marvel 1894 Award, celebrating scholarship, athletic performance and leadership. She'll be competing in the women's quadruple sculls event.
Andrew Reed is from Wayland, Massachusetts, and graduated from Harvard University in 2014. He'll be competing in the men's four event.
Alexander Richards is from Watertown, Massachusetts, and graduated from Harvard University in 2018. He'll be competing in the men's eight event with former Crimson teammate, Conor Harrity.
Regina Salmons is a first-time Olympian from Methuen, Massachusetts. She graduated from University of Pennsylvania in 2018, where she studied English and pre-law. She won a Scholar Athlete Award in 2017 and 2018 from the Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association (CRCA). She'll row in the women's eight event.
Gevvie Stone is a two-time Olympian from Newton, Massachusetts. She competed in the 2012 London Games, as well as the 2016 Rio Games — where she won the silver medal in the single sculls. This year, she'll be competing in the single sculls event. She follows the footsteps of her parents, Gregg Stone and Lisa Hansen, both of whom were members of the U.S. National Rowing Team. She is a graduate of Princeton University and Tufts University School of Medicine. She paused her residency at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center to train for the Summer Games.
Kristi Wagner is from Weston, Massachusetts. She graduated from Yale University in 2015. She won the double sculls event at the 2020 U.S. Olympic Team Trials, and will be competing in the same event during the Games.
Anders Weiss is a second-time Olympian from Barrington, Rhode Island. He competed in the 2016 Rio Olympics, placing 11th in the pair event. He graduated from Brown University in 2016, where he studied economics. He'll be competing in the men's four event.
Track And Field
Wadeline Jonathas attended high school in Worcester, Massachusetts. She graduated from the University of South Carolina this year. She helped the U.S. win gold in the women's 4x400 relay at the world championships in Qatar in 2019. She'll compete in Tokyo in the 400-meter event as well as the 4x400 relay.
Elle Purrier St. Pierre is from Montgomery, Vermont. She graduated from the University of New Hampshire in 2018 as the most decorated athlete in the school's history. A former dairy farmer, she represented the United States at the 2019 World Athletics Championships, competing in the women's 5,000-meter. She'll compete in the 1,500-meters event in Tokyo.
Heather MacLean is from Peabody, Massachusetts. She graduated from UMass in 2017. Most recently, she won first place in the 1,500-meters event during the 2021 New Balance Indoor Grand Prix. She'll compete in the same event in Tokyo.
Rachel Schneider is from Sanford, Maine, and went to high school in Dover, New Hampshire. This will be her first Olympics and she will compete in the 5,000-meter event.
Molly Seidel calls Boston her hometown and she attended the University of Notre Dame. She placed second during the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for the marathon event, which she'll be running in Tokyo.
Gabrielle Thomas grew up in Northampton, Massachusetts and graduated from Harvard University in 2019 with a degree in neurobiology. She was named the Ivy League's most outstanding track performer in 2017 and 2018. In her first Olympics, she will be competing in the 100-meter, 100-meter relay and 200-meter events.
Kristie Mewis is from Hanson, Massachusetts, and will be playing for the U.S. alongside her younger sister, Samantha. Mewis graduated from Boston College and played on the Boston Breakers from 2014 to 2016.
Alyssa Naeher grew up in Connecticut. She played for the Boston Breakers from 2010 to 2011, and again from 2013 to 2015. This will be her second Olympics after the team came in fifth place in the Rio Games in 2016.
Kristi Kirshe is from Franklin, Massachusetts. She graduated from Williams College in 2017, where she was a star soccer player. She picked up rugby during college, and is now heading to her first Olympics on the women's sevens team.
Ilona Maher is from Burlington, Vermont. She graduated in 2018 from Quinnipiac University, where she earned All-American Honors. Her college team held three titles in the National Intercollegiate Rugby Association. She was also honored in 2017 with the MA Sorenson Award, delivered to the best women's rugby player in college athletics. She will join Kirshe on the women's sevens team.
Michael Hixon is from Amherst, Massachusetts. and graduated from Indiana University in 2018. He'll compete in the 3-meter event. In Rio in 2016, he won silver in the synchronized 3-meter, and placed 10th in the individual 3-meter event.
Jessica Parratto is from Dover, New Hampshire. She graduated from Indiana University in 2019. Like Hixon, she competed in the 2016 Rio Games, placing 10th in the individual 10-meter, and 7th in the synchronized 10-meter. She will compete in the 10-meter event in Tokyo.
Eli Dershwitz is from Sherborn, Massachusetts, and graduated from Harvard University in 2019. He will be competing in the individual and team events, as he did in the 2016 Rio Games.
Andrew Mackiewicz is a first-time Olympian from Westwood, Massachusetts. He graduated in 2018 from Pennsylvania State University, where he studied marketing. He's a two-time Men’s Sabre NCAA National Champion. He'll be competing in individual and team events.
Lindi Schroeder is from Andover, Massachusetts. The 19-year-old will be the first Massachusetts resident to compete in synchronized swimming in over a decade.
Rashida Ellis is from Lynn, Massachusetts. She won a bronze medal at the 2019 world championships and was named USA Boxing’s Elite Female Boxer of the Year. She'll compete in the lightweight class.
Stuart McNay is a three-time Olympian who lives in Providence, Rhode Island. He was born and raised in the Boston area, and then graduated from Yale University in 2005. This will be McNay's fourth Olympics. He will compete in the men's two-person dinghy (470) event.
Kieran Smith is a 21-year-old Olympian from Ridgefield, Connecticut. He currently attends the University of Florida. He holds the NCAA, SEC and the American record for the 500 freestyle swim event.
Editor's Note: This post is primarily sourced from biographies provided by Team USA. We recognize the list may not be exhaustive of all New England connections and we encourage you to let us know if there's another local, or a correction, you'd like us to look into. To do so, please fill out this form.
This article was originally published on July 20, 2021.