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Meet the Minnesota athletes going for gold at the Tokyo Olympics

Several athletes with Minnesota ties will be competing in gymnastics, swimming, wresting, sailing and more.

MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota will be well represented at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, with a number of athletes with Minnesota connections ready to go for the gold.

BOWE BECKER, SWIMMING

Credit: AP
Bowe Becker gets ready to compete in the men's 50-meter freestyle final during wave 2 of the U.S. Olympic Swim Trials on Sunday, June 20, 2021, in Omaha, Neb. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Gophers swimmer Bowe Becker earned All-American honors for the 50-meter freestyle and the 100-meter freestyle, and finished fourth in the 2019 NCAA championships in the 50-meter freestyle. For the Tokyo Olympics, he qualified for the 4x100m freestyle relay.

RESULTS:

Becker won a gold medal with Team USA in the 4x100m freestyle relay.

RELATED: US men win gold in 100m freestyle relay

KYRA CONDIE, SPORT CLIMBING

Credit: AP
FILE - United States' Kyra Condie climbs during women's boulder qualification at the climbing World Cup on May 21, 2021, in Salt Lake City. Climbing has always been a niche sport among outdoor enthusiasts. Inclusion in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics will take it mainstream and the world will see just how difficult it is clinging to tiny hand holds with fingers and toes. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

Kyra Condie will make history as one of the first athletes to compete in Olympic sport climbing, as the event makes its Olympic debut in Tokyo.

Condie, 24, is used to scaling seemingly insurmountable challenges, however. She overcame a life-threatening scoliosis diagnosis and a difficult surgery to correct a 72-degree curve in her spine.

“I was always kind of defiant and didn’t like being told I couldn’t do something,” Condie said. “Also, kind of the aspect of I was not naturally the best. I wasn’t used to winning but I really wanted to win. That coupled with having something to overcome really stoked my training.”

More than just an avid climber and inspiring success story, Condie was also named to Forbes Magazine's annual 30 Under 30 list in the sports category in 2020.

WHEN TO WATCH:

RELATED: Condie climbs her way to the Olympics

RELATED: She had life-threatening scoliosis. Now, she's a US Olympian in a new sport.

LARA DALLMAN-WEISS, SAILING

Credit: Perfect Vision Sailing

Lara Dallman-Weiss, along with her sailing partner, Coast Guard officer Nikki Barnes, finished 7th place at the Women's 470 World Championship regatta in Portugal in April, earning them a spot in this summer's games.

"Being part of team USA is just a dream," Dallman-Weiss said.

But the harsh reality is getting there. Unlike in many countries there is no U.S. government funding to assist the team. So Lara and Nikki, in addition to a grueling training regimen, have had to fundraise as well.

"We've been very successful but have a ways to go."

If you'd like to donate to Lara and Nikki's campaign to get to Tokyo, you can do so here.

RELATED: Dallman-Weiss hopes to sail her way to gold

WHEN TO WATCH:

  • July 29 @ 10:15 p.m. CT: Women's 470 Race 5
  • July 29 @ 11:30 p.m. CT: Women's 470 Race 6
  • July 31 @ 10:05 p.m. CT: Women's 470 Race 7
  • July 31 @ 11:20 p.m. CT: Women's 470 Race 8
  • Aug. 1 @ 10:05 p.m. CT: Women's 470 Race 9
  • Aug. 1 @ 11:20 p.m. CT: Women's 470 Race 10

JOE FAHNBULLEH, TRACK & FIELD

Credit: AP
Joseph Fahnbulleh, of Liberia, competes in a heat of the men's 200-meters at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2021, in Tokyo. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

Fahnbulleh is a Hopkins High School graduate running for Liberia in the Tokyo Olympics, where he'll compete in the Men's 200 meters. His official Olympics bio notes that he was named 2019 National High School Coaches Association National Senior Boys' Track and Field Athlete of the Year.

WHEN TO WATCH:

MASON FERLIC, TRACK & FIELD

Credit: AP
Mason Ferlic wins the men's 5000-meter run during the USATF Golden Games athletics meet at Mount San Antonio College Sunday, May 9, 2021, in Walnut, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

Roseville native Mason Ferlic qualified for the Tokyo Olympics with a third-place finish in the steeplechase event at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials. According to his Team USA bio, Ferlic was a NCAA champion in the outdoor 3,000 meter steeplechase at the University of Michigan.

WHEN TO WATCH:

RELATED: Roseville's Mason Ferlic is ready for his Olympic opportunity

MEGAN KALMOE, ROWING

Born in Minnesota, Megan Kalmoe is competing in her fourth Olympic games in Tokyo, after previously winning a bronze in London during the quadruple sculls event.

WHEN TO WATCH:

JOE KLECKER, TRACK & FIELD

A Minneapolis native and graduate of Hopkins High School, Joe Klecker took third place in the 10,000 meters at the U.S. Olympic team Trials to win a spot at the Tokyo Olympics.

RESULTS: 

Klecker finished the 10,000 meters race in 16th pace, with a time of 28:14.18.

WHEN TO WATCH:

SUNISA LEE, GYMNASTICS

Credit: AP
Sunisa Lee competes on the beam during the women's U.S. Olympic Gymnastics Trials Sunday, June 27, 2021, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

St. Paul native Sunisa Lee picked up an automatic bid to the Tokyo Olympics at the U.S. Olympic Trials in June with a 115.832, while posting the top scores on beam and uneven bars and actually putting up a higher all-around score than Simone Biles on the night.

The road to the game hasn't always been easy, however. Her biggest cheerleader, her dad John, was paralyzed in an accident just days before the 2019 nationals. 

“Me and my dad definitely have the closest bond out of everyone in my family,” Sunisa says.

Rarely does John Lee miss one of his daughter’s gymnastics meets, at home or on the road, and don’t expect him to miss any future Olympic appearances by Sunisa.

“I will definitely be there, there's nothing stopping me,” John says, flashing a smile. “I'll crawl to Tokyo.”

RESULTS:

Suni Lee won a silver with Team USA in the women's team competition, then brought home gold in the women's all-around event, followed by a bronze in the uneven bars.

RELATED: Minnesota native Suni Lee wins Olympic gold in women's gymnastics all-around

WHEN TO WATCH:

RELATED: Suni Lee’s road to Olympics paved with sacrifice and tragedy

GRACE MCCALLUM, GYMNASTICS

Credit: AP
Grace McCallum after competing on the uneven bars during the women's U.S. Olympic Gymnastics Trials Sunday, June 27, 2021, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Grace McCallum, an Isanti native, was chosen to fill the fourth spot on the U.S. women's team by a selection committee following a fourth-place finish at the U.S. Olympic Trials in June. McCallum is a four-time member of the U.S. National Team.

RESULTS:

McCallum won a silver medal with Team USA in the women's team competition.

WHEN TO WATCH:

RELATED: Meet the six women gymnasts representing the US in Tokyo

PAYTON OTTERDAHL, TRACK & FIELD

Credit: AP
Payton Otterdahl competes during the Blue Oval Showcase shot put, Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2020, at Drake Stadium in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Payton Otterdahl, a graduate of Rosemount High School, won two national championships in the shot put at North Dakota State University. He has been competing for Nike since his graduation in 2019, and helps coach the throwers at NDSU as a volunteer assistant.

“It is a lot of traveling," he says. "But I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

That life and that dedication paid off. At the trials in June, he finished third, qualifying for the games in Tokyo by registering his best throw ever 21.92 meters on the biggest day of his career.

“I knew going into it that I was feeling good. And I knew that it was going to take a lot to make the team because the U.S. in shot put is just crazy," said Otterdahl. "I just kind of went in with no expectations and I just wanted to give it my best. ”

RELATED: Otterdahl's best day ever sends him to Tokyo

WHEN TO WATCH

REGAN SMITH, SWIMMING

Credit: AP
Regan Smith competes in the women's 200-meter butterfly final during wave 2 of the U.S. Olympic Swim Trials on Thursday, June 17, 2021, in Omaha, Neb. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

In March, Lakeville native Regan Smith broke the American record in the 100 yard backstroke and swam the second fastest time of any American woman in the 200 yard fly.

Smith delayed her enrollment at Stanford to continue to train for her coach Mike Parratto and prepare for the Olympics.  

"I really want to live in the moment there and the games. They could easily not have happened at all. And If I am able to make it and perform my best and be happy," Smith said. 

RESULTS:

Smith won bronze in the 100m backstroke, and silver in the 200m butterfly. She later won another silver with as part of the women's 4x100m medley relay team.

RELATED: Regan Smith wins silver in 200m butterfly

RELATED: Minnesota native Regan Smith gets bronze in 100m backstroke

RELATED: Lakeville's Regan Smith wins third medal in Tokyo

WHEN TO WATCH:

RELATED: Lakeville's Regan Smith perseveres through the pandemic to earn a spot in next month's Olympics

From NBC Olympics: Swimmer Regan Smith on how she rewrote her story after 2020:

GABLE STEVESON, WRESTLING

Credit: AP
Minnesota's Gable Steveson prepares to take on Penn State's Greg Kerkvliet during their 285-pound match in the quarterfinal round of the NCAA wrestling championships Friday, March 19, 2021, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Gable Steveson, an Apple Valley native, has already had quite a year. The University of Minnesota junior heavyweight went undefeated, won a Big Ten Title, a national title and a spot on the U.S. Olympic Wrestling Team.

"I just have that confidence that I can beat anybody by 10 points or by 15 points, it doesn't matter who it is," said Steveson. "It's do or die when you step out on the mat, (and) it's not my time to die, it's yours."

RELATED: Gophers' Gable Steveson ready to take on the world in Tokyo

WHEN TO WATCH

PATRICK SUNDERMAN, RIFLE SHOOTING

A graduate of Farmington High School, Patrick Sunderman is also a four-time NCAA champion during his team on the rifle team at West Virginia University.

WHEN TO WATCH:

  • Aug. 1 @ 9:30 p.m. CDT: Men's Smallbore Rifle Qualification

JORDAN THOMPSON, VOLLEYBALL

Edina native Jordan Thompson set a school record for kills in a season during her collegiate career at the University of Cincinnati, with 827 in 2018. She previously won a gold medal with Team USA at the 2019 FIVB Volleyball Nations League tournament.

WHEN TO WATCH:

ALISE (POST) WILLOUGHBY, BMX RACING

Credit: AP
Second placed Alise Post of the United States celebrates after the women's BMX cycling final during the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Friday, Aug. 19, 2016. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)

St. Cloud native Alise Willoughby is heading to her third Olympics in Tokyo, after appearances at the 2012 games in London and the 2016 games in Rio, where she won a silver medal.

Previously competing under her maiden name of Alise Post, she's now married to Australian BMX cyclist Sam Willoughby.

WHEN TO WATCH:

RELATED: Alise Post riding out the next leg of her journey

SHANE WISKUS, GYMNASTICS

Credit: AP
Shane Wiskus celebrates after competing in the floor exercise during the men's U.S. Olympic Gymnastics Trials Saturday, June 26, 2021, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

This year has been unusual for University of Minnesota gymnast Shane Wiskus, as it was the final season in program's history, after the school eliminated the program due to budget cuts.

"To have that cut the year of the Olympics just seems like very poor timing, and it almost makes me want to make the team even more just to kind of show them what they missed out on," Wiskus said.

That motivation may seem a but harsh, but it worked. Wiskus won two NCAA Titles this year and was named the 2021 Nissen-Emery Award winner, which is awarded to the nation's best senior collegiate gymnast.

WHEN TO WATCH:

RELATED: Minnesota native Shane Wiskus looks to make Olympics gymnastics team