With the Opening Ceremony taking place tonight, we can't help but celebrate and get to know a few Georgia Olympians who may have grown up in your very own neighborhood.
Jay Litherland: This 20 year old Georgia Bulldog not only made the Olympic team this year, but he also beat the reigning Olympic champion of this event, Ryan Lochte, after securing 2nd place in the 400 IM at the Olympic Trials. Litherland has citizenship in three different countries- USA, Japan, and New Zealand, and chances are you won’t be able to tell this triplet apart from his two brothers.
Christian Coleman: This 20 year old Atlanta native and University of Tennessee Track and Field superstar earned a spot on the USA Men’s 4x100 relay event and was recently named Male Amateur Athlete of the Year by the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame.
Yijun Feng: Winning both the USA Table Tennis National Championship and US Youth Singles Championship in 2015, this 19 year old will make his debut in Rio tomorrow afternoon at 3:45pm EDT. Also, he studies at the University of Georgia (can I get a Go Dawgs!?)
Gunnar Bentz: Jay Litherland isn’t the only bulldog swimmer to compete in Rio this year. Meet Gunnar Bentz, graduate of St. Pius X Catholic High School and known for his achievements in backstroke, freestyle, and IM events. Finishing 5th in the 200m freestyle, Bentz qualified for a spot on the 4x200m freestyle relay team so be sure to watch “Gunny Bunny” make some waves.
Kristi Castlin: Virginia Tech graduate and 7 time All-American hurdler, Kristi Castlin, will be competing in the 100m hurdles after a 2nd place finish in the Olympic Trials Finals just about a month ago.
Vincent Hancock: Currently the reigning Olympic gold medalist in skeet shooting from both the 2008 and 2012 summer Olympics, Hancock aims to surpass his back to back victory and make it a 3peat. Not only is he the first athlete to ever win back to back gold medals in consecutive games, but he is also the first American shotgun athlete to take away 3 World Championship titles.
Christian Taylor: As the American triple jump record holder, in addition to being the reigning world and Olympic champion, Taylor is only 8 centimeters away from holding the world record. We’re hoping for both another gold medal and a new world record, but Taylor would prefer the latter.
Jenny Arthur: While we’re over here struggling to move a couple of boxes, Jenny Arthur is preparing for Rio after finishing 8th in the 75kg division for Weightlifting and being the first American Weightlifter to qualify for Rio this year. One of 8 kids, Arthur volunteers at the local hospital in her spare time and hopes to encourage others through her accomplishments.
Amanda Weir: This will be Weir’s third appearance at the Olympic Games, as she swam the 4x100 free and medley relays in Athens at the 2004 Olympics and the 4x100 free relay in London in 2012. Amanda isn’t the only Weir to go to the Olympic Trials, though. Her younger brother Caleb qualified for the Trials this year too.
Maya Moore: At only 26, Moore has been named the WNBA MVP, has won three WNBA titles, and has had quite the college career at UCONN. Now she’s chasing after her 2nd gold medal and we are pumped to watch this Lynx star help defend the United States’ title.
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