Just know that we are still rooting for Sha’Carri Richardson. But despite, her not competing, there are still lots of other Black athletes to cheer on and support in the Tokyo Olympics, from track and field to gymnastics and swimming, most with records already broken, inner battles conquered and their legacies solid.
We couldn’t begin the list without mentioning the winningest gymnast in history and the greatest (don’t argue with us on this). The 24-year-old and five-time Olympic champion will return to the Olympic games in hopes of becoming the first female gymnast in more than 50 years to win consecutive all-around Olympic golds.
Sunisa Lee is another Royal Woman to look out for. She placed second behind Biles. The 18-year-old is the first Hmong to represent the US at the Olympic Games. Also representing the US women’s gymnastics team is MyKayla Skinner, Jordan Chiles, Jade Carey, and Grace McCallum.
WE’RE GOING TO TOKYO🎉
such a surreal feeling. I can’t believe I made the olympic team for a 2nd time & I’m beyond excited to represent Team USA.
This is just the beginning of the journey.
thanks for all the endless support & love. I couldn’t ask for better support 🖤 pic.twitter.com/oL9M1dPmH0
— Simone Biles (@Simone_Biles) June 29, 2021
For one, this Royal Woman is already a hero for prioritizing something many people of color do not; their mental health. Despite sitting out the French Open and Wimbledon, Naomi Osaka will compete in Tokyo Olympics. The 23-year-old has not done a lot of media since doing what she needs to do in the name of self-care. Osaka admitted to battling anxiety and depression shortly after winning her first Grand Slam title at the 2018 US Open. But she did share with Japan Today that she preparing herself “little by little” so that she could be at the top of her game.
The No. 2 Grand Slam champion will represent Japan in hopes for gold. Netflix is releasing a three-part docuseries bout Osaka titled Naomi Osaka: Playing By Her Own Rules, premiering on July 16th.
What does it feel like to be one of the best tennis players in the world?
On July 16, @naomiosaka offers insight into the tough decisions and ecstatic triumphs that shape her as both an elite global superstar and a young woman navigating a pressure-filled world. pic.twitter.com/jreQzgk6TJ
— Netflix (@netflix) July 6, 2021
Track & Field
The 17-year-old high school sprinter blew out his competition and broke an Olympian’s record all at the same time. Knighton ran the 200-meters in 20.11, breaking Usain Bolt’s record by 2 seconds. Knighton beat Bolt’s junior record. Bolt ran a 19.93 when he was 17 in 2004. That race happened the same year he turned 18. To be eligible for a U18 best, World Athletics requires that an athlete does not turn 18 during the calendar year, according to a U.S. Track and Field official. Bolt turned 18 later in 2004, in which he ran the 19.93. Knighton turned 17 in January. The Riverview, FL native is the youngest athlete to qualify for the Olympic track and field team since Jim Ryun in 1964.
— HBCU Green Fund (@HBCUGreenFund) July 3, 2021
22-year-old JuVaughn Harrison will become the first American man since Jim Thorpe in 1912 to compete in the high jump and long for the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. Harrison’s high jump cleared at 7 feet, 7 ¾ inches, and his long jump at 27-9 ½.
JuVaughn Harrison won both the high jump and the long jump at the U.S. Olympic trials yesterday.
He’ll be the first man to represent the United States in both events at the Olympics since Jim Thorpe in 1912.
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) June 28, 2021
At 43-years-old, Abdi Abdirahman makes his fifth trip to the Olympics and the oldest Olympian in the summer games, but age is nothing but a number to him. The Somalian-American is on the marathon team that’s 50% Black, another first in US Olympic history. Abdirahman’s first trip to the Olympics was the 2000 Sydney games.
The U.S. Olympic men's marathon team is complete!
Jacob Riley claims the second spot and Abdi Abdirahman claims the third.
— #TokyoOlympics (@NBCOlympics) February 29, 2020
Behind Erriyon Knighton, Athing Mu is the second youngest athlete to compete in the Olympics at age 19. The Texas A&M freshman set a new world record in the women’s indoor 800 meters at 1:56:07. It’s the second-fastest 800 time ever by an American, according to Texas A&M.
Mu won the NCAA Outdoor Championships in the 400 meters and anchored the A&M 4×400 relay team. Her 400-meter time is the fourth fastest in the world.
— #TokyoOlympics (@NBCOlympics) June 28, 2021
The 24-year-old managed to set a world record and study for her master’s degree all at the same time. Thomas qualified for the 200-meters at 21.61 seconds, breaking a world record and coming in second only behind legendary Olympic sprinter Florence Griffith ‘Flojo’ Joyner. Thomas is a Harvard University graduate and is currently pursuing a Master’s in epidemiology.
.@Harvard alum Gabby Thomas is currently studying for her Master's in epidemiology but when she's not studying, she's working towards a spot on the U.S. Olympic Team.
— #TokyoOlympics (@NBCOlympics) June 25, 2021
The nine-time Olympic medal winner qualified for the Tokyo Olympics in the 400-meters. Felix finished second with a time of 50.02 seconds, securing her fifth trip to the Olympics. This win is extra special since she accomplished this feat for the first time as a mother. Felix gave birth to her daughter, Camryn, via c-section in November 2018. As a result, many critics put her out for the count, including Nike’s attempt to cut her pay by 70% and declining to protect her pay if her post-pregnancy performances were not up to par.
Felix is already a solidified living legend. She won individual gold came in the 200 in 2012, silvers at the distance in 2004 and 2008, plus a silver in the 400 in 2016, and has 13 world titles. According to USA Today, after Tokyo, the 35-year-old plans to retire before the next Summer Games, in Paris in 2024.
— #TokyoOlympics (@NBCOlympics) June 21, 2021
Howard University (HU) swimmer, Miles Simon will compete in the men’s 50-meter freestyle, clocking in at 23.11. The Bison junior is the second swimmer in the Howard University’s history to compete in the Olympic trials. Simon has already broken school records in the 100-meter and 100 backstroke.
For women, Simone Manuel qualified for the U.S. Olympic swim team, winning the 50-meter freestyle. She failed to qualify for her gold medal Olympic event, the 100-meters. Five years ago at the 2016 Rio Games, Manuel made history when she became the first Black woman to win an individual gold medal in swimming in that same event. Like Osaka, the 24-year-old has also had her own mental health battles on the Olympics road. Earlier this year, Manuel was diagnosed with overtraining syndrome, a condition of athletic burnout. But there is hope she can bounce back and score another gold.
Also on the women’s poolside is Natalie Hinds. The University of Florida graduate will make her Olympic debut in the 100-meter freestyle .
.@swimone's incredible swim 💥
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) June 21, 2021
Keyshawn Davis and Troy Isley will be among the five American men to represent the US in the boxing ring. Davis, 22, is being called a likely candidate for the gold medal, according to the Associated Press. Isley will try to become the first U.S. middleweight boxer to medal since 2004.
On the women’s side, there is Rashida Ellis, Naomi Graham, and Oshae Jones. Graham ranks eighth in the middleweight and is the likely prospect for gold. She will be the first active female member of the military to compete for USA Boxing in the Olympics, according to Team USA.
Meet Staff Sergeant Naomi Graham.
She was recently named one of USA Boxing's team captains and will compete at the Tokyo Summer Games next year as a part of the @usarmywcap.
— U.S. Army (@USArmy) September 28, 2020