Arizonans in Tokyo: Athletes with local ties to watch in the Tokyo Olympics

The Tokyo 2020 Olympics are underway. The opening ceremonies kicked off at 4 a.m. (MST) Friday, signifying the official start of the much delayed, much anticipated event.

The United States is sending over 600 athletes to Tokyo to compete across 41 different sports. Of that group, 19 are Arizona natives, either born or raised in the state.

Here are the athletes to watch and when they will be taking the stage in Tokyo. All times are Mountain Standard Time.

Devon Allen – Track & Field (Phoenix)
Allen is a 110-meter hurdler competing in his second Olympic games. He placed fifth overall in this event at Rio in 2016. Though he was born in Seattle, Allen was raised in Phoenix and attended Brophy Prep. Allen will race on Aug. 3. If he qualifies, the 110m hurdles final will be held Aug. 4.

Maceo Brown – Rugby (Tempe)
Brown will be competing in his first Olympics with the USA Sevens rugby team. The Tempe native attended Corona Del Sol High School and Grand Canyon University, where he played football until switching over to rugby. The rugby team begins pool play on Sunday.

Jade Carey – Gymnastics (Phoenix)
This will be the first Olympics for 21-year-old Carey. In 2019, she won a team gold medal and individual silver medal for the vault during the World Gymnastics Championships. Gymnastics preliminaries begin Saturday at 6 p.m.

Will Claye – Track & Field (Phoenix)
Claye is competing in his third Olympics and trying for his fourth medal. The jumper won silver for the triple jump and a bronze for the long jump in London 2012. He added another silver in the triple in Rio. Triple jump qualifications will take place on July 30 and long jump qualification will be held the next day, July 31. The finals for both events are Aug. 1.

Jagger Eaton – Skateboarding (Mesa)
Eaton will be competing on the first ever U.S. Skateboarding Street Team, with competition starting Saturday. This is his first Olympics, as skateboarding was just introduced as an Olympic event.

“I’ve kind of always known, since I started skating, that skateboarding could be in the Olympics,” Eaton said. “Competing for your country, that’s the biggest honor, that’s the goal of all goals.”

Brady Ellison – Archery (Globe)
Ellison holds the world record in the men’s 72 arrows 70m round event. Tokyo 2020 marks his fourth Olympics. He has earned two silver medals and one bronze medal at the Olympics. Ellison completed the individual ranking round Thursday and finished second overall. He will compete in team elimination rounds starting Sunday and individual elimination rounds starting Wednesday.

Julie Ertz – Women’s Soccer (Mesa)
Ertz first appeared on the US Women’s National Team in 2013. Since then, she has won two World Cups and has been awarded U.S. Soccer Female Player of the Year twice (2017, 2019). She has yet to win an Olympic medal, however, and will be chasing one in Tokyo. This is her second Olympics appearance. The women’s soccer team has already begun pool play. They lost to Sweden 3-0 on Wednesday and will face New Zealand on Saturday.

Bethanie Mattek-Sands – Tennis (Phoenix)
Mattek-Sands will be competing in doubles tennis while in Tokyo. She is the reigning gold medalist in mixed doubles after winning the event in Rio. This is her third Olympics. Mattek-Sands will be paired with world tennis No. 26 Jessica Pegula for women’s doubles. Mixed doubles teams will be named at a later date. Tennis matches begin Friday but Mattek-Sand won’t compete until Saturday.

Brandon McNulty – Road Cycling (Phoenix)
McNulty is just coming off the Tour de France and is now competing in his first Olympics. He finished 69th overall on the Tour out of over 200 starting riders. McNulty is competing in the Men’s Road Race, which will take place Friday at 7 p.m. He will then compete in individual time trials on Tuesday.

Delaney Schnell – Diving (Tucson)
The 22-year-old Tucson native and current Arizona Wildcats diver is competing in her first Olympics. She qualified in the Synchronized 10m Platform, which will be held Tuesday, and the Individual 10m Platform, which will be held Aug. 4. Most recently, she won a bronze medal at the 2019 World Diving Championships in the Individual 10m.

MyKayla Skinner – Gymnastics (Gilbert)
Tokyo 2020 will be Skinner’s first Olympics, though she was an alternate for the 2016 Olympic team. She is a two-time NCAA champion and 10-time medalist at the U.S. Championships. Skinner is heading to Tokyo as a plus-one specialist on Team USA, meaning she won’t be a part of the team competition but will compete individually. Her best events are the vault and floor exercise. The finals for these two events will take place on Aug. 1. The qualification round is Saturday.

Corben Sharrah – BMX Racing (Tucson)
Sharrah will compete in the quarterfinals of the BMX Cycling Race on Wednesday night. If he qualifies, the semifinals and finals will take place Thursday. Tokyo 2020 is Sharrah’s second Olympics. He finished ninth overall in the event at Rio 2016. The Tucson native attended Amphitheater High School and graduated from the University of Arizona in 2018.

Alana Smith – Skateboard (Mesa)
Smith will be joining fellow Mesa native Jagger Eaton as part of the U.S. Skateboard Street Team. She will compete in the Women’s Street event on Sunday. This is her first Olympic appearance, but she has been competing in the World Championships since 2014, earning bronze in 2015.

Olivia Smoliga – Swim (Phoenix)
Smoliga was born in Phoenix but raised in Chicago. The swimmer already has a gold medal in the 4×100 Freestyle Relay from Rio 2016 and will be chasing another one in the same event on Saturday.

Sarah Sponcil – Beach Volleyball (Phoenix)
The 24-year-old will be competing in her first Olympics alongside teammate Kelly Claes. Together, Sponcil and Claes are the youngest U.S. beach volleyball team to ever qualify for the Olympics. This will be their first Olympics. The team will hit the sand at 5 p.m. Sunday for their first match of pool play.

Brett Thompson – Rugby (Tempe)
Thompson will be joining fellow Tempe native Maceo Brown on the U.S. Sevens Rugby team. Thompson attended the University of Arizona to play football, but switched over to Rugby when it became an Olympic sport in 2016. The rugby team will face Kenya on Sunday, Ireland on Monday afternoon and will conclude pool play after facing South Africa Monday night.

Aliphine Tuliamuk – Track & Field (Flagstaff)
Tuliamuk was born in Kenya but raised in Flagstaff. She became an American citizen in 2016 and will be competing on Team USA in the marathon. She placed first in the event at Olympic qualifiers. Now, she is running for gold at her first Olympic games.

Jamie Westbrook – Baseball (Gilbert)
Westbrook graduated from Basha High School in 2013 and was drafted by the Diamondbacks in the 5th round of the MLB Draft that same year. He is with the Milwaukee Brewers (AAA) but is taking a break from the season to compete in his first Olympics.

Brighton Zeuner – Skateboard (Scottsdale)
Zeuner is joining Arizona teammates Jagger Eaton and Alana Smith on the U.S. Skateboard Street Team. She will be competing alongside Smith in the Women’s Street event on Sunday. Zeuner won a gold and silver medal at the Skateboard World Championships in 2016 and 2017 respectively. She was also the youngest skater to ever win a gold medal at the X Games in 2017. She was 13. She is 17 going into Tokyo 2020.

In addition to the 19 natives competing in the Olympics, Arizona will see representation from many athletes who have competed, or are still competing, at universities in the state.

ASU has 21 former and current Sun Devils competing in the games, as well as four Olympic coaches. Some recognizable names include pro golfer Jon Rahm, who is competing for Spain, and swim coach Bob Bowman, the longtime coach of Michael Phelps who will be coaching Team USA at the Olympics for the fifth time. A full list of ASU athletes competing can be found here.

The Arizona Wildcats are represented by 23 incoming, current and former athletes and three coaches. Steve Kerr will be assisting the U.S. men’s basketball team, Abdi Abdirahman will be competing in his fifth Olympic games as a Team USAmarathoner and four wildcat softball players will be representing Mexico and Italy.

GCU and NAU will also be represented. Three athletes are headed to Tokyo from GCU and one from NAU.

The state will also be represented in the games by eight professional athletes who play for Arizona teams and one professional coach.

Devin Booker of the Phoenix Suns will be playing for Team USA. Skylar Diggins-Smith, Brittney Griner and Diana Taurasi of the Phoenix Mercury will also be wearing red, white and blue, while their teammate Alanna Smith and coach Sandy Brondello will be representing Australia.

The Diamondbacks also have two Olympians, Luis Castillo and Junior Garcia, who are playing for the Dominican Republic.

(Video by Emily Carman/Cronkite News)
Emily Carman eh-mih-lee kar-man (she/her/hers)
Sports Reporter, Phoenix

Emily Carman is a graduate student working towards her master’s degree in sports journalism. Carman’s professional experience is in collegiate sports information and corporate communications.