When the flame is lit at the XXXI Olympiad in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on Friday evening, among the more than 11,000 athletes hoping for gold will be a number with ties to the Sunshine State. We thought it would be helpful to create a list to give Floridians some extra reasons to cheer over the next few weeks.
The athletes are listed in alphabetical order by last name and are all members of Team USA unless otherwise noted. If we missed someone, let us know on Twitter or Facebook and we’ll update the post.
Murielle Ahoure is a sprinter for Team Ivory Coast, and will serve as her country’s flag bearer during the opening ceremonies. She is a Miami Hurricane and will be running in the 100m and 200m, the same events in which she competed in London in 2012.
Foluke Akinradewo, is one of four returning players from America’s 2012 Olympic silver medal women’s volleyball team. She is from Fort Lauderdale and graduated from St. Thomas Aquinas High School and Stanford University. She has U.S.-Canadian-Nigerian triple citizenship.
Laura Alleway is a soccer player for Team Australia. This is her first Olympics. She plays defender for the NWSL team Orlando Pride.
Heather Arseth is a swimmer for Team Mauritis. She is a recent graduate of the University of Miami and previously competed at the 2012 Olympics in London.
Andres Arroyo, a native of Orlando, will be competing in Track and Field (800m) for Puerto Rico. Arroyo graduated from Colonial High School and is now a junior at the University of Florida.
Perry Baker is a rugby player from Daytona Beach. He graduated from Spruce Creek High School in Port Orange and this is his first Olympics.
Elizabeth Beisel is a University of Florida alumna (Telecommunications, 2014) who will be competing in the 400m individual relay swimming event. This is her third Olympics (Beijing 2008, London 2012) and she has won 1 silver and 1 bronze medal. Beisel was also one of the creative minds behind the 2012 USA Olympic Swimming Team’s viral video where they lip-synced Carly Rae Jepson’s “Call Me Maybe.” Fellow Gator Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte can be seen in the video, which has over 13 million views.
Josée Bélanger plays defender for the Orlando Pride and will be competing on Team Canada’s women’s soccer team.
Clermont resident Tori Bowie will be running the 100m and 200m. This is her first Olympics.
Marvin Bracy graduated from Boone High School in Orlando and Florida State University. He’s running the 100m and this is his first Olympics.
Allison Brock, lives in Wellington. She will be competing in equestrian dressage with her horse Rosevelt, a Hanoverian stallion.
Steph Catley plays soccer for the Orlando Pride. She’ll be representing Team Australia at her first Olympics.
Jumper Will Claye is a UF junior. He previously won a silver medal in the Triple Jump and a bronze in the Long Jump at the 2012 London games.
Kerron Clement graduated from UF in 2007. He will be competing in the 400m hurdles. He also competed at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, where he won a gold for the 4x400m and a silver for the 400m hurdles, and the 2012 London Olympics, where he came in 8th in the 400m hurdles.
Kassidy Cook is originally from Plantation, where she started diving before moving to Houston at age 10. She is competing in the 3-meter dive.
Melani Costa-Schmid is a three-time Olympic swimmer for Team Spain (2008 Beijing, 2012 London). She’s a sophomore at UF.
Aury Cruz is on Puerto Rico’s volleyball team. This is her first Olympics. A senior at UF, Gator volleyball fans began calling her wicked kills and deep serves “Cruz Missiles” starting with her very first match.
Beach volleyball player Phil Dalhausser graduated from Mainland High in Daytona Beach and the University of Central Florida. This is his third Olympics and he won gold in 2008.
Mitch D’Arrigo is a swimmer for Team Italy. A dual American and Italian citizen, D’Arrigo moved to Gainesville before the start of his senior year in high school and graduated from P.K. Yonge High School before attending UF, where he is a junior. This is his first Olympics.
Angelica Delgado is on Team USA’s judo team. She lives in Miami, graduated from Ferguson High, and attends Florida International University. Her father defected from Cuba.
Nick Delpopolo lives in Opa Locka and will be competing on the U.S. men’s judo team. He moved to South Florida to get a fresh start after inadvertently ingesting a marijuana-laced brownie and getting sent home from the 2012 Olympic games after a positive drug test.
Synchronized diver Sam Dorman is a Miami hurricane. He and his diving partner won their spot on the team with a first-place finish at the U.S. Olympic trials in June.
Swimmer Caeleb Dressel is a sophomore at UF. He grew up in Green Cove Springs and graduated from Clay High School. This is his first Olympics.
Conor Dwyer is another Gator swimmer on Team USA. A senior at UF, he also competed in the 2012 London games, where he won a gold medal in the 4×200 freestyle relay as part of the team with Ryan Lochte.
Equestrian Kent Farrington is from Wellington and is a top-ranked American show jumper. He rides Voyeur, a Dutch Warmblood.
Victoria “Vix” Folayan is a rugby player who graduated from Poinciana and won two rugby national championships while a student at Stanford University.
Sylvia Fowles plays center for the WNBA’s Minnesota Lynx, a two-time WNBA Defensive Player of the Year who led the Lynx to the league title in 2015 and was named MVP. She previously played at Edison High and Gulliver and this is her third Olympics.
Tynia Gaither is a runner who graduated from Osceola High in Kissimmee. She is running the 100m and 200m for Team Bahamas.
Sandra Gal is a golfer competing for Germany. A junior at UF, she’s originally from Leichtingen, Germany and has been a member of the German National Team since 2003. This is her first Olympics.
Orlando resident Justin Gatlin, 34, is the oldest U.S. men’s sprinter to make the Olympic team since 1912. He is competing in the 100m and 200m and this is his third Olympics. He has won five Olympic medals (two gold, one silver, two bronze).
Laura Graves is an equestrian from Apopka. This is her first Olympics.
Ashlyn Harris is the goalkeeper for the Orlando Pride women’s soccer team and this is her first Olympics.
Arman Hall is from Pembrooke Pines and graduated from St. Thomas Aquinas High School and the University of Florida. He will be competing in the 4×400 relay in his first Olympic games.
Dave Hughes is a 38-year-old former White House intern from Miami who will be sailing a 2-person dinghy. He previously went to the 2012 Olympics as a coach for sailor Trevor Moore, who went missing in Biscayne Bay in 2015. Hughes is sailing in memory of Moore, who had been his roommate in Coconut Grove.
Ashleigh Johnson grew up in the Redland and attended Ransom Everglades High School. A student at Princeton University, she is the starting goalie on Team USA’s water polo team, the first African-American on the team.
Madison Keys is from Boca Raton. She’s currently the twelfth-ranked women’s tennis player in the world. She reached the semifinal of the 2015 Australian Open and 2015 Wimbledon quarterfinal.
Lydia Ko is a golfer for Team New Zealand. She’s currently the top golfer on the LPGA tour and is coached by Central Floridian David Ledbetter.
Golfer Matt Kuchar graduated from Seminole High in Lake Mary. This is his first Olympics.
Genevieve LaCaze is a Track and Field athlete competing for Team Australia. A senior at UF, she also competed at the 2012 London games.
Danell Leyva is a Cuban-American gymnast who lives in Homestead. His parents competed for Cuba’s team before coming to the United States. Leyva won a bronze medal for the all-around event in London in 2012.
Swimmer Ryan Lochte is one of the most famous Floridians competing in Rio. Lochte grew up in Daytona Beach and graduated from Spruce Creek High School. He has a degree in Sports Management from UF. This will be his fourth Olympics — he also swam in Athens in 2004, Beijing in 2008, and London in 2012 — and he has won a total of 11 Olympic medals (5 golds, 3 silvers, 3 bronzes). Lochte just celebrated his 32nd birthday on Wednesday and debuted a brand new bleached hairdo this week for the Games.
— Ryan Lochte (@RyanLochte) August 1, 2016
Eddie Lovett is from West Palm Beach and graduated from Palm Beach Lakes High School. He is a senior at UF and will be competing in the hurdles for the U.S. Virgin Islands. This is his first Olympics.
Nick Lucena is a beach volleyball player from Cooper City, beach volleyball. He started playing the sport while a student at Florida State University. His wife, Brooke Niles, is a former pro volleyball player.
Hilda Luthersdottir is a swimmer for Team Iceland, competing in the breaststroke. She is a senior at UF majoring in criminology and previously competed in London in 2012.
Marcela Marić is a sophomore at the University of Miami and will be diving for Team Croatia. She is the first Croatian diver to ever qualify for the Olympics.
Swimmer Corey Main is a native of Auckland, New Zealand and will be representing his country in several backstroke events. Main is a senior at UF and this is his first Olympics.
Tony McQuay is a relay runner and a sophomore at UF. He’s from Riviera Beach and graduated from Suncoast High School, where he was a varsity football player. He won a silver medal in London in 2012 as part of the 4×400 relay team.
Kemal Mesic will be competing in the shot put for Team Bosnia. He’s a senior at UF and also competed at the 2012 London games.
Alex Morgan plays soccer for the Orlando Pride. This is her second Olympics. She was part of the gold medal 2012 team.
Volleyball player Kelly Murphy is a senior at UF, majoring in elementary education. This is Murphy’s first Olympics.
Alysha Newman is a Miami Hurricane and a pole vaulter for Team Canada. This is her first Olympics.
Pedro Pascual was a student at Florida Atlantic University before putting his studies on hold to pursue an Olympic medal. He is a windsurfer who sails out of the Miami Yacht Club.
Golfer Inbee Park graduated from Mount Dora Bible High School. She’s playing for Team Korea and is the youngest golfer to ever qualify for the LPGA Hall of Fame.
Catalina Perez is a soccer goalie for Team Colombia. She is a redshirt junior at the University of Miami.
Omar Pinzon will be competing in the 200m backstroke for Team Colombia. A senior at UF, he previously swam in the 2004, 2008, and 2012 Olympics.
Robin Prendes was born in Cuba and raised in Miami. He graduated from Coral Park High and Princeton University. He is competing in the rowing lightweight fours. He finished eight at the 2012 London Olympics.
Shara Proctor is a long jumper for Great Britain. She’s a senior at UF and also competed in London in 2012.
Mattie Rogers graduated from Wekiva High in Apopka. This is her first Olympics and she is competing in weightlifting.
Brianna Rollins graduated from Miami Northwestern and Clemson University. She is competing in the track and field 100 hurdles, and is currently the fourth-fastest in history at that event with a time of 12.26 seconds.
Sebastien Rousseau is a senior at UF and will be swimming for Team South Africa. He also competed in Beijing in 2008 and London in 2012.
Swimmer Naomi Ruele has broken school and conference records in the 50 free at Florida International University. She is the first female swimmer to ever compete in the Olympics for Botswana.
Eduardo Solaeche- Gomez is on Team Spain’s swim team. He’s a senior at UF and this is his first Olympics.
Jenny Simpson is an Oviedo High graduate running the 1500m in her third Olympics.
Katelyn Snyder graduated from Winter Park High School and is rowing in her first Olympics.
Lake Nona resident Henrik Stenson is on Sweden’s golf team. This is his first Olympics.
Sloane Stephens is a tennis player from Plantation. This is her first Olympics.
Jan Switkowski is a sophomore at UF and will be swimming for Team Poland.
Christian Taylor is a triple jumper. This is his second Olympics. He won a gold medal in London in 2012. Taylor is a junior at UF.
Lexi Thompson is a golfer from Coral Springs. She was the youngest player to qualify for the U.S. Open at age 12, the youngest to win an LPGA tournament at age 16, and now at age 21 has already won eight tournaments.
Rex Tullius is a senior at UF and will be competing in the backstroke for the U.S. Virgin Islands. He’s from Port Orange and graduated from Spruce Creek High School. This is his first Olympics.
Antonio Vargas is a boxer who graduated from Osceola High in Kissimmee. This is his first Olympics.
Dan Wallace will be swimming for Great Britain. He’s from North Berwick, Scotland and is a senior at UF. This is his first Olympics.
Bubba Watson is on the U.S. men’s golf team. Born in Baghdad, a Panhandle town near Pensacola, he just sold his Windermere home late last year.
Pawel Werner is a swimmer for Team Poland. He’s a senior at UF majoring in computer engineering and this is his first Olympics.
Tennis player Serena Williams lives in Palm Beach Gardens. She is currently the top-ranked women’s tennis player in the world, with 22 Grand Slam titles. This is her fourth Olympics, and she has won four gold medals. Three golds were in doubles with her sister Venus in 2000, 2008, and 2012, and one was in singles in 2012.
Like her sister Serena, Venus Williams also lives in Palm Beach Gardens. In addition to the three gold medals for doubles tennis with Serena, she also won a gold medal for singles tennis in 2000 in Sydney.
Novlene Williams-Mills is a runner for Team Jamaica. She graduated from UF in 2004 and is a three-time bronze medalist in the 4×400 relay. Williams-Mills was diagnosed with breast cancer right before the 2012 games but still competed, winning a bronze medal with her relay team. She successfully completed her cancer treatment and dedicates her races to breast cancer survivors.
Stipe Zunic is a Gator senior and shot putter for Team Croatia. This is his first Olympics.
[Note: If you’re wondering why there are so many Gators listed, it’s not just this reporter being a overly enthusiastic Gator. UF has an entire section of their website dedicated to Gator Olympians with lots of news and photos about their Olympians and FSU doesn’t even have their Olympic roster posted yet.]
Photo credit: Serena and Venus Williams at the 2013 U.S. Open by Edwin Martinez via Flickr.
Follow Sarah Rumpf on Twitter: @rumpfshaker.