Root for the Home Team!

Meet some of the Minnesotan athletes who will be competing at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio this month.

Photo courtesy of elaborah – fotolia 

The 2016 Olympics kick off this week, and many Minnesotans will be supporting their hometown heroes. Don’t miss four Minnesota Lynx players as they try to continue Team USA’s gold-medal streak in women’s basketball, or St. Paul’s Gwen Jorgensen as she tries to make a comeback from her devastating finish in the 2012 Olympics—just to name a few. But no matter the medals, one thing’s for sure: the North Star State will be represented well in Rio. Meet some of the athletes:

Seimone Augustus
Sport: Basketball
Hometown: Baton Rouge, Louisiana, but plays for the Minnesota Lynx
Fun Fact: Augustus helped Team USA win gold medals at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics.
When to Watch: Games begin August 7

Garrett Bender
Sport: Rugby
Hometown: Minneapolis
Fun Fact: He initially played football on a scholarship from St. Cloud State University, but dropped out to focus on rugby.
When to Watch: August 6-11

Andy Bisek
Sport: Greco-Roman Wrestling
Hometown: Chaska
Fun Fact: He’s come a long way from his third-place finish in a Minnesota High School State Championship—he’s a four-time U.S. World team member and two-time World bronze medalist.
When to Watch: August 14-16

Ben Blankenship
Sport: Track and Field (1500-meter)
Hometown: Stillwater
Fun Fact: He was the first Minnesota Gopher to break the four-minute mile.
When to Watch: August 16, 18, 20

Kelly Catlin
Sport: Cycling
Hometown: Arden Hills
Fun Fact: She’s currently attending the University of Minnesota for Biomedical Engineering and Chinese.
When to Watch: August 11 & 13

Kiana Eide
Sport: Rhythmic Gymnastics
Hometown: St. Francis
Fun Fact: She is 17 years old and the youngest member of the U.S. Rhythmic Gymnastics team.
When to Watch: August 19-20

Sylvia Fowles
Sport: Basketball
Hometown: Miami, Florida, but plays for the Minnesota Lynx
Fun Fact: She was the first woman to dunk in an international competition.
When to Watch: Games begin August 7

Kathryn Johnson
Sport: Rugby
Hometown: Hopkins
Fun Fact: Her brother, Nick, is also a rugby player and founded a Minneapolis rugby club in 2012.
When to Watch: August 6

Gwen Jorgensen
Sport: Triathlon
Hometown: Waukesha, Wisconsin, but lives in St. Paul
Fun Fact: Jorgensen didn’t even own a bike seven years ago. (Learn more about Jorgensen’s path to Rio.)
When to Watch: August 20

Megan Kalmoe
Sport: Rowing (Quadruple sculls)
Hometown: Minneapolis and St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin
Fun Fact: She is a two-time Olympian and seven-time National Team competitor.
When to Watch: August 6

Hassan Mead
Sport: Track and Field (5,000-meter)
Hometown: Minneapolis and Eugene, Oregon
Fun Fact: He attended the University of Minnesota and was a six-time NCAA All-American athlete.
When to Watch: August 17 & 20

Heather Miller-Koch
Sport: Heptathlon
Hometown: Columbus, Wisconsin, but lives in St. Paul
Fun Fact: She is also a part-time operating room nurse in St. Paul.
When to Watch: August 12-13

Maya Moore
Sport: Basketball
Hometown: Lawrenceville, Georgia, but plays for the Minnesota Lynx
Fun Fact: She is one of very few players to win Olympic and world championship gold medals and NCAA and WNBA championships.
When to Watch: Games begin August 7

Paula Lynn Obanana
Sport: Badminton
Hometown: Born in the Philippines, but raised in St. Paul
Fun Fact: She also competed in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
When to Watch: August 11-13

David Plummer
Sport: Swimming (100-meter backstroke)
Hometown: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, but lives in Minneapolis
Fun Fact: He will be the first former men’s Minnesota Gophers swimmer to make the Olympic team in 52 years.
When to Watch: August 7-8

Alise Post
Sport: BMX Cycling
Hometown: St. Cloud
Fun Fact: Her family runs Pineview Park BMX in St. Cloud, a vandalized park-turned-nonprofit BMX facility.
When to Watch: August 17 & 19

Kierra Smith
Sport: Swimming (100-meter and 200-meter breaststroke)
Hometown: Kelowna, British Columbia, but she attends the University of Minnesota
Fun Fact: She will be swimming for Team Canada.
When to Watch: August 7 & 10

Lindsay Whalen
Sport: Basketball
Hometown: Hutchinson (now plays for the Minnesota Lynx)
Fun Fact: She was named the first female Star Tribune Sportsperson of the Year in 2004.
When to Watch: Games begin August 7


Did we miss any local Olympians? Let us know in the comments below.