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The Tokyo Olympics, originally scheduled for summer 2020, were postponed to 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic. They run from July 23 until Aug. 8, 2021.

Here Are Some Charlotte-Area Athletes In The Tokyo Olympics And When To Watch Them

Tokyo Harbor Olympics
Courtesy Kelli Stavast
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The Tokyo Olympics officially are underway, after a year's delay because of the coronavirus pandemic. Several athletes with Charlotte-area ties are in the Games this summer. Here are a few to keep an eye on during the next two weeks, and when you might catch them on TV.


Erika Brown
Team USA
Erika Brown

Erika Brown


Age: 22
Sport: Swimming
Event: 100-meter freestyle
When To Watch: Saturday, July 24 (4x100 free relay); Wednesday, July 28 and Thursday, July 29, if advances (100 freestyle) (see full swimming schedule here)
Notes: Brown attended Hough High School, graduating in 2016. She was a two-time state champion in the 200 freestyle and 400 free relay. … She attended college at Tennessee, where she was a two-time SEC Female Swimmer of the Year before graduating in 2020. … Earned bronze medal finishes at the USA Swimming Junior Nationals in the 200 freestyle in 2014 and 2015. … Finished second in the U.S. Swimming Olympic Team Trials in the 100 freestyle.


Anna Cockrell
Team USA
Anna Cockrell

Anna Cockrell


Age: 23
Sport: Track and Field
Event: 400-meter hurdles
When To Watch: Saturday, July 31 (see full track and field schedule here)
Notes: Cockrell attended Providence Day High School and graduated in 2016. … Graduated from University of Southern California in 2019. … At U.S. Olympic trials on June 27, Cockrell finished third after logging a time of 53.70 in the 400-meter hurdles. … Two-time NCAA champion in 400-meter hurdles, 2021 100-meter hurdles NCAA champion. … Won gold in the 2016 World Under-20 Championships in the 400-meter hurdles and 4x400 relay. Won gold in the 2015 Pan American Junior Championships in 400-meter hurdles. … Father, Kieth Cockrell, is president of Bank of America Charlotte and played football at Columbia. Brother, Ross, played football at Duke before moving on to the NFL, where he’s now a cornerback for Tampa Bay. Sister, Ciera, captained Davidson College’s volleyball team.


Gabbi Cunningham
Team USA
Gabbi Cunningham

Gabbi Cunningham


Age: 23
Sport: Track and Field
Event: 100-meter hurdles
When To Watch: Sunday, Aug. 1 (see full track and field schedule here)
Notes: Cunningham attended Mallard Creek High School and graduated in 2015. … Graduated from NC State in 2019. Two-time All-American in 60-meter hurdles. … At U.S. Olympic trials, finished fourth in 100-meter hurdles, but was added to the team as a replacement for U.S. hurdles champion Brianna McNeal. … Ran time of 12.53 in trials, a personal best.


Evy Leibfarth 2021
Brian Hall
Evy Leibfarth

Evy Leibfarth


Age: 17
Sport: Canoe/Kayak
Event: slalom canoe and slalom kayak
When To Watch: Sunday, July 25 - Thursday, July 29 (see full canoe/kayak schedule here)
Notes: From Bryson City, North Carolina, grew up kayaking and canoeing on the Nantahala River. ... Father, Lee, is a former Olympic Development team member and coach of the Junior National Team and her current coach. ... Won the most recent Junior World Championship in slalom kayak in mid-July, and earned bronze in slalom canoe. ... Will attend Davidson College in the fall.

Read more about Leibfarth here.


Zachary Lokken
Team USA
Zachary Lokken

Zachary Lokken


Age: 27
Sport: Canoe/Kayak
When To Watch: Sunday, July 25 - Friday, July 30 (see full canoe/kayak schedule here)
Notes: Originally from Colorado, trains at U.S. National Whitewater Center and has attended Central Piedmont Community College. … Won Men’s Slalom C1 in 2019 Pan American Games. … Finished 38th in 2018 world championship. Has competed in world championships in 2014, 2015, 2017 and 2018, with best finish being 21st in 2014. … Coached by Team USA teammate Michal Smolen’s father, Rafal.


ryder-ryan.png
Texas Rangers
Ryder Ryan

Ryder Ryan


Age: 26
Sport: Baseball
Position: Pitcher, right-handed
When To Watch: Friday, July 30 and Saturday, July 31; finals Sunday, Aug. 8 (if advances) (see full baseball schedule here)
Notes: Originally from Huntersville, attended North Mecklenburg High School. As a senior, he hit .597 with 29 RBI, and had a 0.28 ERA. … Drafted in the 40th round of the 2014 Major League Baseball draft by the Cleveland Indians, but opted instead to play at UNC Chapel Hill. … Drafted in 2016 MLB draft in 30th round by Cleveland, and signed with the Indians. … Has played for Cleveland Indians, New York Mets and Texas Rangers minor league teams, most recently with the Triple-A Round Rock Express. He’s 1-4 with a 6.17 ERA in 21 games for the Express.


Michal Smolen
Courtesy Michael Smolen
Michal Smolen

Michal Smolen


Age: 27
Sport: Canoe/Kayak
When To Watch: Sunday, July 25 - Friday, July 30 (see full canoe/kayak schedule here)
Notes: Born in Poland, Smolen grew up in Sylva, went to Belmont Abbey College and now trains at the U.S. National Whitewater Center. … Second Olympics appearance for the United States. … Placed 12th in kayak in the 2016 Rio Olympics. … Dad, Rafal, was on the Polish national team. His father now serves as his coach.


Naya Tapper
Team USA
Naya Tapper

Naya Tapper


Age: 26
Sport: Rugby
Position: Wing
When To Watch: Thursday, July 29 - Saturday, July 31 (see full rugby schedule here)
Notes: Attended West Mecklenburg High School, where she competed in track and field and graduated in 2012. … Attended UNC Chapel Hill, where she began playing rugby. … Exercise and sports science major. … As a professional rugby player, Tapper has become the all-time leading try scorer for USA Women’s Eagles. … Participated in 2017-2018 world championships, finishing fourth in 2018. … Sells branded clothing on her website with the slogan NayaOnFiya.