The best athletes in the U.S. will soon make their way to Toyoko, Japan, to compete in the Olympics. And Las Vegas, which has become a sports hub in recent years, is sending quite a few of its own people.
Kelsey Plum, A'ja Wilson, Chelsea Gray, Dearica Hamby, and Liz Camabge of the Las Vegas Aces are all competing in this year's games.
“USA Basketball is proud to announce the athletes who have been selected to play on our USA Women’s National Team at the Tokyo Olympics,” said retired Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the USA Basketball Board of Directors. “These young women are elite athletes. Just as important, they are women of character who will represent our country on the world stage with honor, dignity, and respect on and off the court.”
Let's start with 15-year-old Katie Grimes, the youngest American competitor in the Olympics since 2012. She qualified for the 800-meter freestyle event at this year's games despite being seeded 39th coming into the meet. Keep in mind that only one athlete seeded worse than 30 and made it to the games between 2000 and 2016, making Grimes a bit of an anomaly.
“I feel like I’m going to get there, and it’s going to be deer in the headlights pretty much,” Grimes said. “I think just to stay calm, relax, have fun, embrace it, and it’s going to be a really good time.”
Another one to make the games is Bella Simms, another anomaly. She just started swimming six years ago!
And then there's Ericka Sullivan. She qualified for the 1500m race, finishing second to Katie Ledecky. “I have been visualizing what it would feel like for a long time,” Sullivan said on qualifying for the 2021 Olympics in Toyoko, Japan. “I think the fact that it’s actually happening, it’s weird when your dreams become a reality. I think we’re definitely learning how to cope with that.”
Finally, there is Conner Fields, who will be competing in BMX during the 2021 Olympic games. He won two gold medals for Team USA back in 2016 and could very well win again. This is his third time competing in the Olympics, and he is coming into this year's events as defending champion in the BMX event.
There you have it. These are your Las Vegas sports stars who are headed to the Olympics. This list might grow longer, too.