Duck athletes expect to fly high in the Tokyo Summer Olympics

Cole Hocker crossing finish line

A flock of Ducks is bound for Tokyo.

In all, at least 19 current or former student athletes will compete at what are officially being called the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, which open July 23. Eleven are competing for Team USA, while the others will represent seven other countries around the world.

It should come as no surprise that the Oregon track and field team will have the largest contingent in Tokyo, which is hosting the games after a one-year delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nine Ducks emerged from the U.S. Olympic Team Track & Field Trials at the UO’s Hayward Field to make Team USA. They’ll be going against the world’s best from July 30 through Aug. 8. The full schedule of events is available online.

Among those taking the track in Tokyo’s National Stadium is rising sophomore Cole Hocker, who was part of one of the more thrilling finishes of the trials. Hocker edged fellow Duck and defending Olympic champion Matthew Centrowitz in the men’s 1,500 with a frantic dash over the final 150 meters, notching a personal best as well.

Raevyn Rogers, who gave Duck fans one of Hayward’s all-time highlights in the 2017 NCAA championships, made her first Olympic team while setting a personal best and earning second place in the 800.

Sprinter Jenna Prandini makes her return to the Olympics in the 100 and 200, where she set a personal best running to second place in the trials finals, and as part of the 4x400 relay pool.

Devon Allen also makes his second trip to the Olympics. Allen placed fifth the 110-meter hurdles at the 2016 Games in Rio and earned his way onto Team USA with a second-place finish at the trials.

Three Ducks will be part of relay pools by virtue of finishing in the top six of their events. Rising sophomore Micah Williams and Cravon Gillespie will both be in the men’s 4x100 relay pools, each making their first Olympic team and Williams setting a UO record in the process. English Gardner will be in the mix for the women’s 4x100 relay, making her second trip to the Olympics. She was part of the gold-medal winning 4x100 relay team in Rio in 2016.

Galen Rupp will be part of his fourth Olympic team, competing in the marathon on the Games’ final day. Rupp won the trials marathon, which took place in February 2020 in Atlanta.

A number of Ducks will be swapping Oregon singlets for those of their home countries at the Olympics as well. Jessica Hull and redshirt junior Charlie Hunter will be representing Australia in the 1,500 and 800, respectively, as both made their first-ever Olympic teams.

Other first-time Olympians include Jillian Weir in the hammer (Canada), redshirt freshman Emmanuel Ihemeje in the triple jump (Italy), and redshirt junior Aneta Konieczek in the steeplechase (Poland).

Claire Michel, who raced the steeplechase and was a former school record holder for the Ducks, makes her return to the Olympics in the triathlon for Belgium. She will compete in both the women's triathlon and the mixed triathlon.

Additionally, a pair of Ducks will be taking to the diamond for Team USA in Tokyo.

Janie Takeda Reed will step up to the plate in softball representing the U.S., her first time as an Olympian. The three-time Oregon all-American won gold medals at the 2017 and 2019 Pan Am Games. The top-ranked U.S., seeking its fourth Olympic gold medal, opens on July 21 against No. 9 Italy.

On the baseball diamond, Scott McGough will be taking the field for the USA. He won’t have far to travel. McGough, who appeared in 74 games for the Ducks between 2009-11, plays for the Tokyo Yakult Swallows.

Two more Ducks also will be competing in Tokyo, both in basketball. Maite Cazorla, who was drafted in 2019 by the WNBA’s Atlanta Dream and also plays professionally in Spain, winning a championship for CB Avenida in 2020, will be part of Spain’s women’s basketball team in Tokyo. Arsalan Kazemi, who played for Oregon’s men’s basketball team in 2013, will take the hardwood for Iran’s team competing in Tokyo. Kazemi was the first Iranian-born player selected in the NBA draft and now plays professionally in Iran for Chemidor Qom.

The names of any additional Ducks who are competing in Tokyo should be emailed to jmurez@uoregon.edu.

By Jim Murez, University Communications