After a cancellation and surviving a global pandemic in the process, the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 are finally back on track (in 2021) and gearing up for highly anticipated athletic battles all taking place in Japan. Set to open on July 23, 2021 with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and organizers insisting that measures will be put in place to ensure the safety of athletes and other visitors, as well as a nervous Japanese public, the momentum is full steam ahead, with NBC curating over 7,000 hours of programming and 17 days of the best of the best competing for ultimate bragging rights.
And you know we wouldn't be who we are if we didn't show all the love to the ladies who will be showing up as their full selves, doing the damn thing, and representing for Black women, all up in the place. So, here's a list of some of our favorite women who are headed to Tokyo to bring home the gold:
Disclaimer: Lots of amazing Black women are continually qualifying for the Olympic events, and there are adjustments, drop outs, or additions announced every day. This article reflects who will be present at the time of publishing.
Simone Biles (of course)
Simone Biles has been killing all exercises in gymnastics, and basically kicking all ass and taking names. She has gladly accepted the role of being the face and mentor of USA gymnastics.
Jordan Chiles and Biles are teammates on the US gymnastics team and will compete together in Tokyo. Upon qualifying, Biles captioned a celebration photo of the two:
"Proud is an understatement."
Go kill it, ladies!
The 6'4'' Jordan Thompson, while at Cincinnati, was the 2019 Player of the Year, a first-team All-American and broke NCAA records in kills per set, tallying a school-record 827 kills during the 2018 season. She helped the U.S. win gold at the Tokyo Qualification Tournament in 2019. Her father Tyrone played for the Harlem Globetrotters.
Foluke Akinradewo is a Middle Blocker, born in Ontario, and a two-time Olympic medalist. Her son was born in 2019 and she, in addition to the U.S.ho, lds tri-citizenship in Canada and Nigeria.
Haleigh Washington is a 6'3'' three-time first-team All-American. She was named best blocker at the 2019 Volleyball Nations League, helping the U.S. win gold.
Chiaka Ogbogu has a 10-foot, 5-inch spike touch and led the U.S. in hitting efficiency and kill percent during the 2019 Volleyball Nations League, helping the gold medal-winning effort. Shehas played professionally since 2017 in Italy, Poland, and Turkey.
TRACK & FIELD
Allyson Felix famously kept her pregnancy a secret for several months, continuing to compete when she was four months pregnant. She lost endorsement deals but eventually returned on top. The rest, well, the rest goes down in track and field flex history. She wrote on Twitter:
"It's amazing how quickly your priorities change in moments like this. At that point, the only thing I cared about was that my daughter, Camryn, was OK. I didn't care if I ever ran track again." my greatest love."
Felix also made headlines for paying the childcare for moms competing in Tokyo.
The 25-year-old Texas native, born with a brachial plexus injury that limits mobility in her right shoulder, will compete in the track and field portion of the Paralympics.
One of the most anticipated athletes to compete this year is definitely Simone Manuel, who has shown up for the sport with something to prove. She is part beast, part fish and welcomes the competition in the most humble way. After missing the final in the 100 freestyle, and detailing her struggles, Manuel used a late reach to get to the wall first at the U.S. Olympic Trials and punch her ticket to Tokyo.
The U.S. Women's Basketball team consists of Ariel Atkins, Tina Charles, Napheesa Collier, Skylar Diggins-Smith, Sylvia Fowles, Chelsea Gray, Brittney Griner, Jewell Loyd, and A'ja Wilson. The U.S. team are the reigning champions and is looking for a historic seventh straight gold medal this summer
Rashida Ellis was one of the first six boxers to qualify for the Olympics so far. The 25-year-old hails from Lynn, Massachusetts, and will be making her Olympic debut.
Another one to qualify for the Olympics, is 23-year-old Oshae Jones. She will represent USA Boxing in one of two new weight divisions on the women's side. Fun fact: Jones is coached by her dad, Otha, and one of her two brothers, Roshown. Both of her brothers have been professional boxers.
Naomi Graham ranks No. 1 among America's middleweights and eighth in the world. Additionally, Graham will be the first active female member of the military to compete for USA Boxing in the Olympics (she's a staff sergeant in the Army).
The beloved roster of mainly veteran players who have won World Cups and Olympic gold medals while fighting for equal pay (among other things), are back for their closeup. Their first game representing the United States in the Olympic Games is on July 21, two days before opening ceremonies.
Crystal Dunn spoke on the moment, saying:
"Black women, especially, us existing in spaces that were not necessarily created for them" is not easy. I do think women as a whole, we are a little bit reserved in regards to boasting and sharing our accolades and talking about it in the media. But I think Black women have a whole other level of cautiousness regarding that, because we often do feel like we are just happy to be here. And I'm like, no, no, no, no, I'm not here to survive. I'm here to thrive in this environment."
Michelle Moultrie's road to the Olympics is finally here! The 31-year old has played on the U.S. National Team since departing Florida in 2012 and with softball not part of the London Olympics (2012) or Rio de Janeiro Games (2016), she has been anticipating her Olympic debut.
Paige "McFierce" McPherson, is a 30-year-old Afro-Filipino taekwondo competitor has been training six days a week for her third Olympics. She won the bronze medal at the 2012 Olympics and is the first American woman to make three Olympics in taekwondo.
Coco Gauff (has since withdrew due to COVID)
The 17-year-old Coco Gauff, currently ranked 23, earned her place as American No. 3. She will play for the U.S. in women's singles and will be the youngest Olympic tennis player in 20 years (year 2000). Although Naomi Osaka will be competing for her birthplace of Japan, you can be sure that both of them ladies will be there to support each other's BGM from the sidelines.
The 28-year old Oakland native earned a title in 2019 as the U.S. women had their best showing ever at the world championships with a total of three gold medalists. Now Jacarra Winchester will be favored to reach the podium, if not win it all, in her Olympic debut.
Back in July, she wrote on Twitter:
"In 1 month I will be going for gold, in Tokyo, along side these wonderful ladies. I have never met a group of women more persistent, hardworking & talented. TeamUSA is ready"
After barely missing the mark to qualify for the 2016 Rio Games, Tamyra Mensah-Stock is now on her way to Tokyo to compete on Team USA's wrestling team. Originally a track star, Mensah-Stock serves as the current women's world champion in the 68kg category. Black women are taking over everywhere!
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