Get to Know the Athletes Representing the U.S. at the 2020 Olympics

Ready to root for the red, white and blue as they go for the bronze, silver and gold? Here's what you need to know to be at the top of your game as a fan of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

By Sarah Grossbart Jul 23, 2021 11:30 PMTags
Watch: 2020 Tokyo Olympics: By the Numbers

The COVID tests have been administered, quarantines completed, myths about organizers discouraging sex by filling the Olympic Village with cardboard anti-sex beds debunked. It's time to let the games begin!

As the Opening Ceremony of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics finally gets underway after a year-long delay and we all begin to memorize fun facts about, say, the super attractive oiled-up flag carrier from Tonga (guys, Taekwondo competitor Pita Taufatofua is back!), it's time to get to know some of the standout athletes that will be competing for the red, white and blue. 

So we chatted with, Zoomed, emailed and dug deep into the histories of some of the 621 members of the U.S. team and uncovered everything you want to know. No, not split times or the potential point total of their best vault—that's why NBC Sports exists. We're talking the realllllly important stuff like the music they use to get pumped before they go for the gold and the super-indulgent meal they've got bookmarked for their post-Games celebration. 

Team USA Athletes Share Must-See Moments From the Tokyo Olympics

So as Simone Biles, Katie Ledecky, Simone Manuel and Caeleb Dressel hit the weight room, the ice baths and the massage tables, it's time for you to hit the books and take E! News' crash course on how to be a top-notch Olympics fan (while impressing/annoying your family with your wealth of knowledge). Game. On. 

Simone Biles

The Basics: Are you new here? Heading to her second Olympics to defend her all-around title, the 24-year-old gymnastics phenom from Texas already has four gold medals and one bronze. 
Cheat Day Must-Have: "Oreo cookies," she raved to E! News. "I really love the Double Stuffed one."
Get-Pumped Playlist: "Anything by Beyoncé, Rihanna, Megan Thee Stallion."
Post-Games Plans: "Whenever we get back to the States, I'll take a vacation. Need a vacation always. I would love to go to Greece. I would love to even go somewhere and snowboard, but I also hate the cold so I'm not sure."

Sue Bird

The Basics: One of the United States' two flag bearers at the Opening Ceremony the New York-bred WNBA star, 40, is making her fourth trip to the Olympics in hopes of nabbing her fifth gold medal with the women's basketball team. 
Where Her Medals Live: Safe deposit box, per her USA Basketball profile. 
Must-See TV: Game of Thrones, Homeland, House of Cards, The Fall and The Affair
Pre-Competition Ritual: "Nothing weird," she insisted to NBC, "just a routine that I stick to. It involves a nap."

Megan Rapinoe

The Basics: The feistier half of the Bird-Rapinoe power duo, the 36-year-old World Cup champ, who hails from California, is heading to the Olympics with the women's soccer team for the third time after winning gold in 2012.  
Get-Pumped Playlist: "Before games, If I really want to get pumped up, I'll put on some rap," she shared with Stylecaster, "but I found that listening to podcasts while I work out is meditative in a way because I can just get into the story and not have to think so much about how I want my workout to be over."
Self-Care Staples: "For skincare, I use Biologique Recherche Placenta Repairing Serum and Biologique Recherche Crème Dermopurifiante, which is a really great moisturizer," she told Stylecaster. "I always wear mineral sunscreen, like Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Lotion WetForce for Sensitive Skin and Children SPF 50+ Sunscreen because it's a little less oily and gives a nice finish on the face. Then I use a lot of Vaseline Original Unscented Petroleum Jelly for my lips. I also use it on my hands at night, almost like a lotion. It's old school: easy and simple." Her go-to deodorant: Schmidt's Natural in Lavender & Sage. 
Why She's an Unabashed Olympics Fan: "I'm really pulling for it, and I'm optimistic," she told E! News back in March when it was unclear if the games would get off. "If it doesn't, it's okay, too. But I think it will be a really special thing for the world to come together for the first time in a year and a half and be able to do something like this."

Simone Manuel

The Basics: One of U.S. Swimming's most decorated members, the Texas-bred sprint specialist, 24, swam away from the 2016 Olympics in Rio with two gold medals and two silvers.
On The Menu: "My favorite breakfast is avocado toast with over-medium eggs," she shared with NBC. "Lunch is usually a nice salad with chicken or salmon. And dinner can be pasta or rice and beans with another nice salad. I also love Greek yogurt and fresh fruit for snacks as well as acai and smoothies."
Athletes She Looks Up To: Serena and Venus Williams, Lebron James
Self-Care Staples: "Getting my nails done," she told NBC. "Cooking and baking."

April Ross

The Basics: Returning to her third Olympics with her third partner, the 39-year-old beach volleyballer from California already has a silver medal and a bronze. Just one left...
Get-Pumped Playlist: "It changes a lot," she admitted to E! News. But the one I listen to when I warm up at the Olympics is 'Lose Yourself' by Eminem."
The Star She'd Cast In Her Biopic: Brie Larson 
Athlete She Looks Up To: "She's younger than me, but Naomi Osaka."

Alix Klineman

The Basics: After years of getting left off the national roster of the indoor volleyball team, the California native, 31, hit the beach. Pairing with Ross in 2017 paved her way to her first Olympics. 
Must-See TV: Keeping Up With the Kardashians. "I used to always love Khloe the most, she was the funniest and, like, the quirkiest," she noted to E! News. "But, I feel like Kim has grown on me a lot. I love them all! I love them all in different ways."
Cheat-Day Must-Have: "In-N-Out for sure. I get a double-double with grilled onions, and then I get a regular burger with grilled onions. I get fries, a root beer and a Neapolitan shake."
Get-Pumped Playlist: "I find myself listening to the song 'Headlines' by Drake, a lot before matches. I feel like I started listening to it before matches since I played professionally in Italy which was, like, 2012 or something. It's just such a swaggy revenge song, so I always kind of go back to that song."

Gabby Thomas

The Basics: Now studying public health at the University of Texas, the 24-year-old Harvard grad from Massachusetts is racing into her first Olympics as the second-fastest woman ever in the 200-meter sprint.
Olympic Role Models: "Allyson Felix was my biggest inspiration," Thomas said after beating her idol at the Olympic Trials. "She was the first person I remember watching on TV. Sitting at my granny's house, my mom told me to turn on the Olympic Trials because she saw someone who reminded her of me. That's the person who has been in the back of my head for so many years."
Must-See TV: "This Is Us is my favorite show," she told Runner's World. "I just started watching Sex and the City, which I've never seen. Friends is my go-to, and of course, Grey's Anatomy."
Self-Care Staples: "My college coach introduced me to meditating and it's been very helpful," she revealed. "The breathing part of it is what really makes a difference, even before a track meet—he reminds me to take 10 deep, slow breaths if I'm freaking out before a meet. Walking with my pug is also really therapeutic."

Suni Lee

The Basics: Placing second, just behind Biles, at gymnastics' Olympic Trials, the 18-year-old uneven parallel bar specialist from Minnesota is off to her very first Games. 
Must-See TV: Fuller House.
Movie Obsessions: Finding Nemo, Just Go With It
Biggest Cheerleader: Dad John Lee. "This has been our dream for the longest, basically since I was a baby," she explained to Today's Hoda Kotb. "He's been by my side through everything and he's gone to all my competitions with me, so to have him here at the Olympic Trials with me is something that was so amazing, especially because they can't go to the actual Olympics." 

Katie Ledecky

The Basics: One of the stars of the United States team—and the current world record holder in the women's 400-, 800-, and 1500-meter freestyle—the 24-year-old Maryland native is headed into her third Olympics as the most decorated female swimmer ever. Her medal haul: Five gold, one silver. 
In Her Suitcase: BIC Soleil Sensitive Advanced disposable razors, Black Hawk racing goggles, hand sanitizer and a journal. 
Must-See TV: Blue Bloods and Curb Your Enthusiasm
Get-Pumped Playlist: While she's not the type to blast music before diving into the pool, she told Washington, D.C. radio station WTOP that she loves The Boss. "My dad is a big Bruce Springsteen fan. He's been to 30, 40 concerts, maybe less, I don't know," she said. "Big fan. I have probably 400 Bruce Springsteen songs on my iPod just from different shows and everything, so I became a fan pretty early on." Perhaps she'll cross paths with his daughter, equestrian Jessica Springsteen, in the Olympic Village?

Caroline Marks

The Basics: As surfing sails into the Olympics for the first time, it will tow along the 19-year-old Floridian who boasts multiple national championships and the title of youngest female to compete in a World Surf League event.
Athlete She Looks Up To: "It's pretty hard to get past Kelly Slater!" she raved to E! News. "He's someone I've always looked up to and what he's done with the sport of surfing is incredible."
Cheat Day Must-Have: "Fried chicken is my favorite and pizza probably would be my cheat meal. I could absolutely have fried chicken everyday. When you're 10 or 11, you can get away with it everyday."
Show She'd Love to Star On: "For sure Gossip Girl. I've watched it 100 times and if I could be Serena Van Der Woodsen for the day, that would be super cool."

Carissa Moore

The Basics: Marks' partner in waves, the 28-year-old from Hawaii—the four-time (and reigning) world champion surfer—qualified for her first Olympics back in December 2019. 
Get-Pumped Playlist: "Really can't go wrong with Rihanna, 'Desperado' or 'Needed Me,'" she told E! News. "I like either of those, they have like a really nice bass and badass tone."
Athlete She Looks Up To: "Simone Biles. I just love how she seems like she's just so fun and nice—but she's also such a badass in her sport, just fully paving the way. There are so many athletes I look up to, too, though: Allyson Felix, the runner, who is a mom and just qualified for the Olympics. I'm like, 'Wow, that is so cool too.'"
Her Perfect Day: "An ideal day is jumping in the water, going for a surf, doing some sort of physical activity whether it's like a workout or going to a yoga class or a hike. I like to take our dogs for a beach walk or go skateboarding with them. And a nap and eating good food."

Noah Lyles

The Basics: One of the fastest men in the world, the 24-year-old reigning 200-meter world champion from Virginia is speeding off to his first Olympics after narrowly missing out in 2016.  
Get-Pumped Playlist: He created his 14-track mix featuring Kanye West and Big Sean "in this specific order," he told World Athletics, "with each song put in for a different part of my warm-up. The first song sets up the whole thing and then from 'Praise On The Inside' to 'Never Let Me Down', those are really good songs I like to listen to when I'm stretching and doing active drills. Then by the time I get to 'Ima Boss' to 'New God Flow' I'm doing drills."
Side Hustle: A musician as well as an athlete, he released "A Black Life" to SoundCloud last summer, saying, "I always think to myself what more can I do to help spread the word of injustice. This time I decided to use music. This song explains the pain and fear that almost all Black people have to deal with in their life."
In His Suitcase: His iPhone 11 (complete with a Tokyo-themed phone case), anime socks, Raisin Bran Crunch, Nintendo Switch and at least one of his four Omega watches all earned a spot on the list of travel essentials he detailed to GQ

Jordan Chiles

The Basics: Biles' bestie (yup, Biles and Chiles), the 20-year-old left her Washington home to train at the gold medalist's Texas gym in 2019, then locked in her spot on the gymnastics team with a third-place finish at the Olympic Trials. 
Get-Pumped Playlist: "Motivation" by Normani. Though she also told PopSugar she'll listen to anything current or even a Disney throwback. 
Movie Obsessions: "Beauty & the Beast," she revealed to USA Gymnastics. "I'm [a] kid at heart."
Side Hustle: The future UCLA business student (eyeing a potential minor in zoology or acting) launched her clothing collection Melanin Drip Clothing Co. last summer, screen printing tees and sweatshirts with phrases like "Beautiful, Black & Brilliant". 

Caeleb Dressel

The Basics: One of USA's team captains (along with Manuel, Ryan Murphy and Allison Schmitt) the 24-year-old Florida-bred world record holder in 100-meter butterfly, 50-meter freestyle and 100-meter individual medley has two gold medals from 2016. 
Tattoo Tally: Among his ink is an eagle on his left shoulder, a bear on his upper arm (his spirit animal), the Olympic rings and a gator serving as tribute to his alma mater, the University of Florida. 
Fave Hobbies: Boating, wake boarding and being outdoors
No. 1 Fan: Dressel wed his high school sweetheart Meghan Haila earlier this year on Valentine's Day. 

Allyson Felix

The Basics: Cruising into her fifth Olympics with a second-place finish in the 400-meter, the 35-year-old from Los Angeles already boasts six gold medals and three silvers from Games in 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2016. 
Get-Pumped Playlist: Lizzo
Cheat Day Must-Have: Ice cream
Must-See TV: The Handmaid's Tale

Nyjah Huston

The Basics: Skateboarding is also flying into the Olympics for the first time this year and bringing the 26-year-old Californian—a four-time gold medal winner at the World Skateboarding Championship—with it. 
Celeb He Wants to Meet: LeBron James, he told E! News. "I need to kick it with him some day. He's a beast."
Cheat Day Must-Have: Waffles
Must-See TV: "I just got done watching For All Mankind. It's an Apple show."

Crystal Dunn

The Basics: With the U.S. women's soccer team shut out of medal contention in Rio, the 29-year-old New York-bred defender is ready to ball this go-round. LFG. 
Athlete She Looks Up To: Serena Williams
Cheat Day Must-Have: Bacon cheeseburger
Celeb She Wants to Meet: "I would have to say Kerry Washington," she told E! News. "I love Scandal, and I feel like she's so fun on social media."

Isaiah Jewett

The Basics: Sure, the University of Southern California redshirt freshman was stoked his second-place finish in the 800-meter at the Olympic Trials secured his first trip to the Games. But there was another hurdle to deal with first. "I have a 10-page essay due tonight," he told reporters, "and my teacher didn't give me an extension."
Cheat Day Must-Have: "I'm a milkshake fanatic, so anywhere where milkshakes are really good," he told E! News. "But In-N-Out with the fries and milkshake is definitely a cheat meal."
Must-See TV: Naruto
Celeb He Wants to Meet: "Will Smith. I would love to meet him because that's a guy that I really look up to. I like the way he talks. He's such a great motivational speaker. I feel like he lives his life to the fullest."

Mariah Duran

The Basics: The top-ranked U.S. women's street skater, an Albuquerque native, shouted out her two older brothers after making the 12-person team. "We always believed in it, we always loved it, it's amazing to see how far it's come," noted the 24-year-old. "We're going to Tokyo and the Olympics. It's not just a hobby."
Cheat Day Must-Have: "Pizza with green chili because I'm from New Mexico," she told E! News. "That's the main one."
Get-Pumped Playlist: "It really varies. Lately I've been bumping, like, old Kanye West, the Graduation album."
Celeb She Wants to Meet: "Beyoncé. You know, it's just Beyoncé. She's broken so many barriers. She's an entertainer, performer, artist and above and beyond every time she gets on the stage."

Vashti Cunningham

The Basics: Landing on top at the Olympic Trials (which doubled as the national championship), the 23-year-old high jumper from Las Vegas is soaring into her second Olympics after a 13th place finish in Rio. 
Must-See TV: Naruto
Movie Obsession: "Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba the Movie: Mugen Train," she revealed to E! News. "I was the only person in the theater and I was crying."
Her Perfect Day: "I would wake up, make myself a juice or a smoothie, read my Bible, go to training. After training, I'll either go to my best friend's house or she'll come to my house, and then I like to do light therapy. And then usually I'll go downtown—my friends own a clothing store, and I would just help. One of them actually designs the clothes and then there's another store where they resell a lot of clothes. So I'll resell a lot of my stuff there, like vintage stuff, then I'll help another friend with his design stuff."