Charlotte NC athletes at the Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan

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Seventeen-year-old Evy Leibfarth of Bryson City maneuvers the course at the US National Whitewater Center in Charlotte, NC on Friday, April 30, 2021. Leibfarth will represent the United States at the 2021 Summer Olympics in Tokyo after placing first in the women’s kayak / canoe slalom at the US Olympic team selection competitions in Charlotte.

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The Tokyo Olympics are approaching and the Charlotte region will be well represented at the Summer Games. Here’s an alphabetical guide to some of the athletes with connections to Charlotte who will be competing in the Summer Olympics, which runs July 23 through August 31. 8 in Japan.

Erika Brown swim trials in the United States
Erika Brown competes in the Olympic swimming trials in the United States in June. Brown qualified for Tokyo in the 100 freestyle. Jeff Roberson PA

Erika Brown, swimmer

Country: United States

Events: 100 meters freestyle; 4×100 relay

Link with Charlotte: Brown spent the last two years of high school at Hough High in Cornelius, winning the North Carolina State High School Championships before going to the University of Tennessee for college and becoming an All-American in several. events.

To note : Brown has his university degree from Tennessee as well as a real estate license and has already dabbled in this field. She will have a chance of winning two medals at these Games, as her second place finish at the Olympic Trials means she will also be part of the 4×100 relay.

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Anna Cockrell performed in the track for Providence Day and is now heading to the Tokyo Olympics in the Anna Cockrell clears an obstacle in a recent meet courtesy of Providence Day School

Anna Cockrell, hurdler athlete

Country: United States

Event: 400 meters hurdles

Link with Charlotte: Cockrell went to high school at Providence Day, where she played the role of a hurdler and was part of a sporting family. His older brother Ross Cockrell is an NFL cornerback who started 11 games for the Panthers in 2019, then moved to Tampa Bay and won a Super Bowl last season with the Buccaneers.

To note : Cockrell, now a star athlete at Southern Cal, was third in the US 400 hurdles trials to qualify for the last US spot in the event. To win the medal, she will likely have to improve on her career best time of 53.70 seconds, which she recorded in practice.

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Mallard Creek’s Gabriele Cunningham finished first in a 2015 high school meet in Charlotte. Robert lahser [email protected]

Gabriele Cunningham, hedge

Country: United States

Event: 100 meters hurdles

Link with Charlotte: Cunningham was a track star at Mallard Creek High, then moved to NC State, where she became an All-American.

To note : Cunningham initially missed the Olympics by an eyelash in June, finishing fourth in the 100 hurdles at the Olympic trials (top three succeed). But she earned her place on the team when second-place Brianna McNeal, who had been allowed to compete in trials despite a five-year ban from the sport that was pending appeal at the time. When McNeal’s appeal was dismissed, Cunningham was heading to Tokyo.

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Queens University and Romanian triathlete Felix Duchampt, pictured while still competing for France. H. EMRE DURMUS Queens Athletics

Félix Duchampt, triathlon

Country: Romania

Event: Triathlon

Link with Charlotte: Duchampt graduated from Queens in 2015 and was named Conference Runner of the Year three times while in Queen’s Town.

To note : Duchampt is a native Frenchman and only started competing for Romania after acquiring dual citizenship in March 2020. In an interview with Endurance Sportswire, Duchampt said he hoped to inspire “the young people of the future by Romania ”to try out the triathlon.

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Queens University and German triathlete Anabel Knoll, who graduated from Queens in 2019. Queens Athletics

Anabel Knoll, triathlon

Country: Germany

Event: Triathlon

Link with Charlotte: Knoll graduated from Queens University Charlotte in 2019 and has been a member of three of the Division II champion national triathlon teams for Queens, including the 2019 mixed team relay team where she was the leg of anchoring. Qualifying for Tokyo, she became the first female varsity triathlete to qualify for the Olympics since becoming an official NCAA sport in 2019.

To note : In order to claim last place in the German triathlon team, Knoll went all out, winning the Deutschland Triathlon and securing his place on the plane to Japan.

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Queens University of Charlotte and German swimmer Marius Kusch holds one of his NCAA Championship trophies. Queens Athletics

Marius Kusch, swimming

Country: Germany

Event: 100 meters butterfly

Link with Charlotte: Kusch also graduated from Queens University in 2019, alongside fellow countryman Knoll. While in Charlotte, Kusch won 16 NCAA Championships in various swimming events at the Division II level.

To note : Kusch is no stranger to international competition, having won a gold medal in the 100-meter butterfly at the 2019 European Short Course Championships in Glasgow, Scotland. When Germany updated their qualifying requirements earlier this year, Kusch automatically made the squad to Tokyo.

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Evy Leibfarth, 17, will compete for the United States in Tokyo in kayak slalom and canoe slalom. Jean Folger

Evy Leibfarth, whitewater

Country: United States

Events: Kayak slalom, canoe slalom

Link with Charlotte: Leibfarth is originally from Bryson City, North Carolina, but his family has been living in an Airbnb near Mountain Island Lake since March in order to be close to the US National Whitewater Center training facility in Charlotte.

To note : At just 17 years old, Leibfarth will be one of the youngest paddlers in the Summer Games and one of the youngest American Olympians in general. She is trained by her father, Lee Leibfarth. His first name rhymes with “heavy”.

Zachary Lokken Whitewater Olympics
Zachary Lokken secured a berth at the Tokyo Games in 2021 in canoe slalom. Lokken moved from Colorado to Charlotte after graduating from high school in 2012 so he could train at the US National Whitewater Center. Courtesy of the American Canoe Association

Zachary Lokken, whitewater

Country: United States

Event: Canoe slalom

Link with Charlotte: Lokken, 27, moved to the Charlotte area after high school to train at the US National Whitewater Center.

To note : Lokken’s nickname is “Bug”. He is a first-time Olympian from Colorado.

Olympic weightlifter Caine Wilkes
Caine Wilkes grew up in Virginia, but moved to the Charlotte area in 2015 and never left. At 34, he will play his first Olympic Games as a weightlifter. Courtesy of USA Weightlifting

Caine Wilkes, weightlifter

Country: United States

Event: Weightlifting (109+ kg, meaning weightlifters themselves weigh at least 241 lbs with no upper limit)

Link with Charlotte: Wilkes moved to Charlotte in 2015 to join a weightlifting team that is now defunct and never left. He lives in Indian Trail and trains at the Charlotte Strength Gym.

To note : At 34, Wilkes has dreamed of an Olympic berth for years. He is also an aspiring artist who enjoys drawing and painting and is nicknamed “The Dragon”. On his Instagram page, he says he has “some of the best hair in weightlifting.”


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