A Quick Look at Hawaiian Olympians Competing in the 2021 Tokyo Olympic Games
The Tokyo Olympics took a little bit longer to get here than anyone thought they would, but now that they are upon us, excitement for the games has reached a fever pitch. One of the best parts of the Olympics is the civic pride that is felt whenever a local athlete is competing among the best in the world in their given event. With the Tokyo 2021 Olympics now underway, it’s time to catch up with some local Olympians of Hawaii’s own.
How many athletes from Hawaii will be competing in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics?
There are eight athletes from the Hawaiian Islands represented on Team USA. They compete in events as different as Volleyball, Rugby, Surfing, and Skateboarding. Most of Hawaii’s athletes hail from Honolulu, though Wahiawa and Haleiwa are represented as well.
So, let’s take a look below at some of Hawaii’s Olympic hopefuls and where you can hope to catch them as the games move forward.
Rugby may not have the same following in the United States as it does elsewhere, but the Rainbow State will have a good reason to pay special attention to the USA Men’s Rugby team this year, as Wahiawa’s own Martin Iosefo will be downing the stars and stripes to represent his country in Tokyo. The Oahu native is the captain of USA Rugby’s Sevens squad and will be looked on to provide leadership in his second Olympic appearance.
The US kicks off pool play on July 25th against Kenya and the Men’s Gold Medal Match will be held July 28th. The team will be underdogs looking to shock the conventional rugby powers.
In beach volleyball, Hawaiian Taylor Crabb has been replaced due to a positive COVID-19 test by fellow Hawaiian (and close friend) Tri Bourne. The 32-year-old Bourne is a former USC Trojan and played on the team that made the NCAA indoor finals in 2009. Bourne’s teammate will be Jake Gibb, 45, who will be the oldest volleyball player in Olympic history when he hits the sand in Tokyo. Bourne will have big shoes to fill, however, as Crabb and Gibb were the No.4 ranked team in the world.
Gibb and Bourne will take on the Italian team of Carambula and Rossi on July 25th to begin their play in the preliminary phase as part of Pool C. The Gold Medal Match is scheduled for August 6th.
The Men’s Volleyball team has a strong Hawaiian contingent, with three athletes hailing from Honolulu, Micah Christenson, Erik Shoji, and Kawika Shoji, the latter two being brothers. Erik Shoji is thought of as one of the best to play the Libero position of all time. Christenson was a captain for the US squad that won a bronze medal at the 2019 World Cup. Kawika is Erik Shoji’s older brother and won a national championship at Stanford in 2010.
The US will begin their preliminary round play July 24th against France as part of Pool B and the Gold Medal Match is August 7th.
Surfing is a new competition that was added for the Tokyo games. In a fact that will be unsurprising to most, Hawaii is well represented in this newcomer Olympic event with Honolulu’s Carissa Moore and Haleiwa’s John “John” Florence. Moore has been surfing around Honolulu since she was five and is the youngest champion of a Triple Crown of Surfing event (doing so at just age 16). Florence is recovering from a knee injury but grew up surfing Oahu’s Pipeline on the North Shore, one of the most challenging environments for surfers in the world.
Surfing competitions will be held in heats and are scheduled to be from July 25th to July 28th with the medal contests taking place on the last day. July 29th through August 1st has been reserved for use in the case of inclement weather as well as to ensure optimal surf conditions will be available for competition. The surfing will take place outdoors at Tsurigasaki Beach in Chiba, Japan.
Heimana Reynolds grew up skating at the local Kamiloiki Skatepark in Honolulu’s Hawaii Kai area and is the world’s number one ranked skateboarder in the park discipline. Park skating sees skaters weave up and down the sides of bowl-styled courses, launching themselves up into the sky for tricks along the way.
Skateboarding was announced as an event for these Olympics in 2016, it is the first time the sport has been included in the games and the US has a strong contingent. A true Hawaiian, Reynolds also enjoys surfing as a way to decompress from the rigors of competition.
Men’s Park takes place over one day on August 4th and will have two preliminary heats that will produce qualifiers that then proceed to the later medal final.
Other Olympic Connections
And the number of connections to Hawaii among Olympic athletes only grows when you consider athletes that attended university on the islands or compete for a nation besides the United States.
One such connection would be the four former Rainbow Wahine, Stacey Porter, Rachel Lack, Clare Warwick, and Kaia Parnaby, all of whom played softball for the University of Hawaii and will be representing Australia in the games. This will be the first time softball has been at the Olympics since 2008.
Another connection would be the USA Weightlifting team, which trained in Waikiki before heading to Tokyo for the games.
We’re Always Here to Help!
There you have it, everything you need to know about Hawaii’s connection to the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. We hope learning more about these athletes has filled you with Hawaiian pride or inspired you to take a trip to discover their home state. And if you would like a chance to enjoy some athletic pursuits of your own, especially scuba diving or snorkeling, be sure to reach out to us at Dive Maui! We would love a chance to show you part of the Hawaiian spirit that makes our athletes so special to us.