Utah Olympians Heading To Tokyo For 2020 Games

Jul 16, 2021, 8:27 PM | Updated: Jul 5, 2023, 9:55 am

SALT LAKE CITY — Whether they’re born and bred, or brought to Utah to play as a pro, this year, we’ll see more locals in the Summer Olympics than ever before.

On Friday, the KSL Tokyo Team introduced us to the athletes who’ve called Utah home and hope Utah will cheer them on in Tokyo.

“I miss the mountains,” said swimmer Rhyan White.

White grew up gazing at the Wasatch Mountains from her home in Herriman.

She stunned the field at the U.S. Team trials and is ready to race in the 100 and 200 meter backstroke.

“I feel connected to my community here and I know they’ll support me,” said Nathaniel Coleman.

Coleman will be one of the very first Olympians to compete in Sport Climbing.

The Salt Lake native will be joined by Kyra Condie, who along with Team USA Climbing, now calls Utah home.

“I can’t wait for more people to be introduced to climbing as it’s on this world stage,” said Condie.

“No doubt in my mind, I think growing up in Park City and in Utah was such a huge opportunity for me,” said Haley Batten.

Batten first learned to navigate Utah’s mountain trails. Now, she’ll take on the mountains of Japan at the Tokyo games.

“That’s just what we’d do, run around the neighborhood,” said Jake Gibb.

Gibb spent summers as a kid playing backyard volleyball in Bountiful. This summer, he’ll play in his fourth Olympic games.

“It’s an honor to be considered one of the top guys in the U.S.,” said Brenden Sander.

Brothers Taylor and Brenden Sander both played four years for BYU. Now, they get to play side-by-side on Team USA.

“It’s been cool having him there by my side,” said Taylor.

Utah’s colleges and universities have been home to more than a dozen Tokyo Olympians.

“My BYU experience really allowed me to grow in ways that I didn’t expect,” said Jordan Matyas.

Team USA rugby’s Jordan Matyas was a six-time All-American while she played for BYU.

NBA star Damien Lillard played his collegiate years at Weber State University.

This will be his first time playing for Team USA.

The U’s Hannah Flippen will travel to Tokyo as a replacement player for the U.S. women’s softball team.

Pistol shooter Alexis Lagan first picked up the sport while in school at the University of Utah.

“I never thought about going to the Olympics in any discipline, let alone in shooting, and the University of Utah was kind of my gateway to that,” she said.

Baseball player Eddy Alvarez has been to the Olympics before, but not to play ball. The former Salt Lake Community College Bruin won a silver medical in speedskating at the 2014 Winter Games in Russia.

Back then, he compared taking the ice at the Olympic level to a feeling he knew all too well on the baseball field.

“I’m gonna compare it to the 9th inning, bases loaded, you’re down by two, tying run is on second and you know, there’s two outs and it’s a three-two count. You gotta let that bat fly,” said Alvarez.

The Utes can claim three members of the U.S. Women’s Gymnastics team headed to Tokyo.

After being an alternate for Team USA in Rio in 2016, MyKayla Skinner represented the Red Rocks at three NCAA Championships, finishing first on floor her first year and scoring three perfect 10s.

“I’m really glad I never gave up on my dream and kept going,” she said.

MyKayla’s Team USA teammates Grace McCallum and Kara Eaker are both signed on to attend and compete for the U this fall.

Former University of Utah teammates Leilani Mitchell and Kim Gaucher will both be playing basketball in Tokyo, but not together. Goucher will represent her home country of Canada, while Mitchell plays for the Australian women’s team.

A handful of Utah’s professional athletes will also be playing for their home countries in Japan. Jazz man Rudy Gobert will play for France, Joe Ingles will represent Australia, and Miye Oni will play on the Nigerian team. Real Salt Lake’s Douglas Martinez is also headed to the games for his home country of Honduras.

A love for Skeleton brought Nathan Crumpton to Utah years ago. Now he’s back, training to test his running skills off the ice. He’s qualified in the men’s 100 meter dash for American Samoa.

Ugandan rower Kathleen Noble came to Utah for a job but found much more.

“When it’s flat, you can just go and go and go and go,” she said.

She rekindled her college love for crew and will now be the first Ugandan to row in the Olympics.

“I think it is inspiring to them to see somebody from Uganda who is representing them at the Olympics, and I hope that inspires that dream in them to be able to compete,” said Noble.

KSL 5 TV Live

Local News

A West Jordan nanny is behind bars, accused of seriously injuring a baby....

Garna Mejia

West Jordan woman arrested, accused of seriously injuring the baby she nannied

A West Jordan nanny is behind bars, accused of seriously injuring a baby.

17 minutes ago

The Department of Cultural and Community Engagement's STEM for Milo + Friends....

Debbie Worthen

Utah STEM program aims to help parents prepare children for success with conversation cards

When it comes to preparing your child for kindergarten, there is one score that experts now say can determine all kinds of life success, and it's not reading. It's math.

30 minutes ago

Patey aviation park groundbreaking...

Logan Stefanich, KSL.com

‘Community airport’: Spanish Fork breaks ground on Patey Aviation Business Park

Mike Patey got into aviation 25 years ago, and since then he's felt like he's "in heaven" anytime he's airborne.

1 hour ago

A Frontier Airlines jetliner arrives at Denver International Airport after a winter storm swept thr...

Mark Jones

Frontier Airlines adds new flight from Salt Lake City International Airport

Frontier Airlines announced Wednesday a new nonstop flight from Salt Lake City International Airport to Portland, Oregon.

2 hours ago

Several train cars derailed in Elko, Nevada. (KSL TV)...

Eliza Pace

16 train cars derail in Elko, closing roads and causing power outage

Multiple rail cars derailed in Elko Wednesday morning, closing roads and impacting electricity in the area.

3 hours ago

Fatal crash scene...

Collin Leonard, KSL.com

Driver in fatal Mother’s Day car crash pleads guilty to felony charges

A woman has pleaded guilty to causing a head-on collision that killed one woman and injured five others, including her own 2-year-old daughter, on Mother's Day last year.

4 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Users display warnings about the use of artificial intelligence (AI), access to malicious software ...

Les Olson

How to Stay Safe from Cybersecurity Threats

Read our tips for reading for how to respond to rising cybersecurity threats in 2023 and beyond to keep yourself and your company safe.

Utah Olympians Heading To Tokyo For 2020 Games