TOKYO – As the opening ceremonies get underway at the Tokyo Olympics on July 23, a total of 22 Crimson Tide student-athletes, past and present, will continue The University of Alabama’s proud tradition of excellence at the Summer Games.
This year’s group includes athletes taking part in seven different sports, representing 13 countries, including seven who are competing for the United States. This year’s contingent also includes six current student-athletes, along with fifteen making their Olympic debut, five who are making their second trip to the games and two coming back for thirds.
This will mark the 13th-consecutive Summer Olympic Games that Alabama has been represented, dating back to 1972 in Munich. The Crimson Tide’s 2021 total ranks second all-time at Alabama, trailing only the 34 UA student-athletes that competed in the 1984 Games in Los Angeles.
Tide In Tokyo
- Track & Field – Remona Burchell (Jamaica), Quanesha Burks (USA), Daniel Haugh (USA), Kirani James (Grenada), Natassha McDonald (Canada), Shelby McEwen (USA), Jereem Richards (Trinidad & Tobago), Portious Warren (Trinidad & Tobago), Ayla Stanisclaus (Trinidad & Tobago)
- Swimming – Kalia Antoniou (Cyprus), Kristian Gkolomeev (Greece), Leonie Kullmann (Germany), Anton McKee (Iceland), Diana Petkova (Bulgaria), Abbas Qali (Kuwait), Rhyan White (USA)
- Golf – Stephanie Meadow (Ireland), Justin Thomas (USA)
- Baseball – David Robertson (USA)
- Gymnastics – Shallon Olsen (Canada)
- Soccer – Merel Van Dongen (Netherlands)
- Softball – Haylie McCleney (USA)
Heading to his third Olympiad, track and field’s Kirani James is also looking for this third Olympic medal after taking gold in 2012 and silver in 2016 in the 400 meters. Swimming’s Anton McKee is heading to his third Olympics, while Kristian Gkolomeev, Leonie Kullmann and Abbas Qali are making their second trip. Golf’s Stephanie Meadow and gymnastics’ Shallon Olsen are also making their second Olympiad.
With this year’s contingent, a total of 136 Alabama student-athletes have earned the title “Olympian,” a tally that includes 47 from track and field and 70 from swimming and diving. Merel Van Dongen is the first Alabama player to take the pitch in soccer at the Olympics, joining Team Netherlands in its first Olympic appearance.
Justin Thomas is the first member of the UA men’s team to compete in golf at the Olympics, while Stephanie Meadow was the first UA woman to compete in golf at the Olympics in 2016 and is making her second trip this summer. Robertson is the second Alabama player to taking part in the summer games in baseball, following gold medalist Tim Young in 2000.
Haylie McCleney is the second Alabama softball players to take part in the games, following in the footsteps of gold (2004) and silver (2008) medalist Kelly Kretschman, who was also an alternate for Team USA in 2000.
Shallon Olsen, making her second Olympiad following the Rio Games, is the fourth UA gymnast to compete at the Olympics, following two-time silver medalist Terin Humphrey (2004), Melanie Banville (2004) and Dominque Pegg (2012). She is also the first UA gymnast to repeat as an Olympian.
Swimming’s Jon Olsen is the Crimson Tide’s most decorated Olympian, earning four gold and one bronze medal between 1992 and 1996. In addition to James and Olsen, other Alabama gold medalist include Pauline Davis (track & field/2000), Kelly Kretschman (softball/2004), Lillie Leatherwood (track & field/1984), Antonio McDyess (men’s basketball/2000), Jon Sieben (swimming/1984), Calvin Smith (track & field/1984), Mark Tonelli (swimming/1980) and Tim Young (baseball/2000).
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