Jul 23, 2021 - Sports
The Olympic athletes with Minnesota ties to watch for this year
Photo illustration of numerous Olympic athletes from Minnesota set against the state's shape
Photo illustration: Annelise Capossela. Photos: Andy Bao, Carmen Mandato, Maddie Meyer, Tom Pennington, Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Minnesota is well represented on Team USA as the the Tokyo Olympics kick off today.

Driving the news: More than a dozen athletes with ties to the state are set to compete in events ranging from shot put to rifle shooting.

Why it matters: It's fun to cheer for our hometown heroes as they go for the gold!

What to watch: It turns out we're a gymnastics powerhouse. Minnesota natives Sunisa Lee, Grace McCallum and Shane Wiskus are all competing in the fan-favorite event.

Here are a few more local athletes to keep on your radar:

  • Regan Smith of Lakeville will compete in the 100-meter backstroke and the 200-meter butterfly, while Gopher Bowe Becker is on the men's relay team.
  • Edina grad Jordan Thompson is a star front-row attacker on our top-ranked women's volleyball team.
  • Gable Steveson, the Gophers' undefeated heavyweight, is vying to become one of the USA wrestling's youngest gold medalists.
  • BMX racer Alise Willoughby of St. Cloud is on her third trip to the games. She won silver in 2016.
  • Two Hopkins alums — Team USA's Joe Klecker and Liberia's Joseph Fahnbulleh — will compete in the track and field events.

How to watch: The Games air on NBC, channel 11 here in the Twin Cities, and its streaming service, Peacock.

  • And keep your eye out for local watch parties and events. Vertical Endeavors, for example, plans to show events featuring Shoreview native Kyra Condie at its area climbing gyms.

A full schedule of events is available here.

Go deeper with Axios' full Olympics coverage.

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