Nearly a dozen Kansas City area athletes will compete at Tokyo Olympics

Japan 2020

FILE – In this March 24, 2020, file photo, a man is seen through the Olympic rings installed near the National Stadium in Tokyo. Athletes at the Tokyo Olympics who come down with minor symptoms of COVID-19 could be isolated in a hotel lined up by local organizers of the games. Japan’s Kyodo news agency cited unnamed officials with “knowledge of the plan.” The Japanese news agency on Sunday, April 11, 2021, said organizers are working to secure 300 rooms in a hotel near the Athletes Village. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

KANSAS CITY, Mo, — The Kansas City metro will be well-represented at the Tokyo Olympics.  A year after the pandemic forced officials to postpone the event, 11 athletes with Kansas City area ties will compete on the world stage. 

Gymnastics

Kara Eaker and Leanne Wong are heading to Tokyo as replacements. Eaker finished 7th overall at the U.S. Gymnastics Olympic Trials in St. Louis over the weekend, while Wong came in 8th place. 

Both athletes train at the GAGE Center in Blue Springs, Missouri. 

Shooting

Paola’s Derrick Mein will compete in trap shooting at the Olympic games.

Growing up on a small farm in southeast Kansas, Mein developed a love for hunting early, and began sporting clays at 8 years old.

He is a 16-time member of the USA Sporting Clays team.

Swimming

Former Lawrence area swimmer, Michael Andrew is heading to his first Olympics. The 22-year-old qualified in the 50 freestyle, 100 breaststroke and 200 individual medley.

In 2013, Andrew became the youngest American swimmer to turn pro at the age of 14.

Andrew, a native of Minnesota, lived in Lawrence during his teen years. He now calls California home.

Track & Field

Lawrence resident Christina Clemons qualified for the Olympic Games by finishing third in the 100 meter hurdles. You also might remember Clemons by the Doritos earrings she wore during the finals of trials.

Clemons moved to Lawrence last year, with her husband Kyle, who competed in track and field at the University of Kansas.

Former UMKC athlete Courtney Frerichs is heading to her second Olympics. The Nixa, Missouri native finished second in the women’s 3,000 meter steeplechase at the Olympic Trials.

Bryce Hoppel, who competed for the Jayhawks, qualified for the 800 meter race after finishing third at the qualifiers.

Hoppel is a four-time NCAA champion.

Lee’s Summit High School and Baylor graduate KC Lightfoot, and Park Hill alum Chris Nilsen will both compete in pole vault at the Olympics. Nilson won the US Olympic trials by clearing 19 feet, 4 1/4 inches.

Karissa Schweizer, who ran track and cross country for Mizzou, will compete in both the 5,000 and 10,000 meter races.

Schweizer is the first woman from the University of Missouri to qualify for the Olympics in track and field since 1996.

Wrestling 

Former Missouri Valley College wrestler Jacarra Winchester earned a trip to the Olympics with dominating wins in U.S. Women’s Wrestling Trials in April.

Winchester placed first during the 2019 World Championships after finishing fifth the year before.

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