Baylor Bears Take on Tokyo

The Baylor Bears are well represented this summer as there are six former athletes currently competing in this year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan. These athletes will be competing on behalf of The United States, Nigeria, and Australia in various events.

 

Trayvon Bromell- Track & Field, Team USA

Trayvon Bromell will be representing the United States this year in the Men’s 100m run in Tokyo.  Bromell ran a 9.8 in the Olympic Trials final to continue building his case as the gold-medal favorite in Tokyo. He was second at the 2016 Olympic Trials and finished eighth in Rio. He anchored the 4x100m team to what was thought to be a bronze medal, until the U.S. was disqualified for an exchange violation. Injured in Rio, he had two surgeries after the Games and then, after going two years between races, blew an adductor muscle in his upper leg in his first meet back in 2019.

Click here to read more on Bromell’s journey to the Olympics, and here to view his Baylor bio page.  

 

KC Lightfoot-Track & Field, Team USA

KC Lightfoot will be competing in men’s pole vault at the 2021 Olympic Games. During the Olympic trials, he set an outdoor personal best of 19-2.25 feet, tying him for second place with vaulter Sam Kendricks. This was the first meet ever where three American pole vaulters cleared 19-2.25.

In 2021, Lightfoot was the NCAA Indoor National Champion, Indoor All-American, Big 12 Men’s Performer of the Year, Big 12 Indoor Champion, and holds several national pole vaulting records. Over his career vaulting, KC has won numerous gold medals, and is working hard to bring home another, not only for himself, but for the whole United States this month in Japan.

Click here to visit KC’s Team USA profile and here to view his Baylor bio page.

 

John Peers- Men’s Tennis, Team Australia

A transfer from Middle Tennessee State, Peers earned doubles All-America honors with Roberto Maytin as a senior at Baylor in 2011, helping the Bears win the Big 12 regular-season title and advance to the NCAA quarterfinals. He finished the season ranked No. 5 in doubles and No. 21 in singles. Representing his native Australia, Peers was recognized as a top doubles player in Australia, and continued his professional career after falling short to Argentina in the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. Peers has already represented Australia in 12 Davis Cup matches and the first two editions of the ATP Cup, and is now a two-time Olympian.  At the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, he lost in the first round of men’s doubles with Chris Guccione and mixed doubles with Samantha Stosur.

Peers and his doubles partner, Max Purcell, competed on Sunday in Tokyo, but ultimately fell short losing to the USA’s doubles team Krajicek and Sandgren. John and his mixed doubles partner, Ash Barty, played on Wednesday, July 28th where they overtook Team Greece guaranteeing their chance to play for a medal.

While Peers is pleased to be wearing Australia’s green and gold in the Olympics, he has this to say about Baylor: “It doesn’t matter how far you step away or how long you’re a part of the family, you’re always a Baylor Bear for life. That’s probably the biggest thing that people don’t understand about the Baylor community.”  Click here to read more on Peers’ Olympic journey.  

 

Ekpe Udoh- Men’s Basketball, Team Nigeria

Before transferring to Baylor in 2009, Ekpe Udoh played his first two years of college basketball at Michigan. In his only season for the Bears, he averaged 13.9 points, 9.8 rebounds, and 3.7 blocks per game and was named to the All-Big 12 Defensive Team. He also received honorable mention All-American recognition by the Associated Press.

The Golden State Warriors selected Udoh with the No. 6 overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft. He spent five seasons playing for the Warriors, Bucks, and Clippers before he moved to Turkey to play for the EuroLeague powerhouse Fenebahce from 2015-2017. After he led his club to the championship in his second season, He was named the EuroLeague Final Four MVP. In 2017, Udoh returned to the NBA, signing with the Jazz. 

Representing his native country in the Tokyo Olympics, Udoh and Team Nigeria fell in the first round to Australia, 84-67, and to Germany, 99-92, in the second round.  The next game for Team Nigeria is scheduled for July 30th, with their opponent yet to be determined.

To read more on Udoh, click here.

 

Wil London-Track & Field, Team USA

Wil London III was named to the men’s 4x400m relay pool and the mixed 4x400m relay pool after finishing eighth in the men’s 400m Final in Oregon. It has been a dream of his since he was a child to compete in the Olympics and he will see that dream come to life in Tokyo this year.

London, Waco native and graduate of Waco High and Baylor, is excited and grateful to represent Central Texas in Tokyo.  Legendary Track and Field coach, Clyde Hart, has been watching London dominate the competition since he was seven years old.  On July 20th, the City of Waco issued a proclamation that the date be named “Wil London Day” to mark London’s significance of being the first-ever Olympian to hail from Waco.  To read an article about London and Hart, click this link.

 

Brittney Griner- Women’s Basketball, Team USA

Brittney Griner, once again, earned a spot on the U.S. Women’s Basketball squad and will represent her country in the Olympic Games in Tokyo.  Griner, who starred at Nimitz High School in Houston, and Baylor University, won gold with Team USA at the 2016 Olympics, bringing home the 12th gold medal in Baylor history. Griner was the only collegiate player to participate in the 2011 USA National Team’s European Tour and averaged 12.8 ppg and 7.0 rpg playing alongside and against professional veterans. Including the 3-2 record from the five games in Europe in 2011, Griner owns a 34-2 record in a USA Basketball uniform from 2011 through 2020. She also won gold at the FIBA World Championships in 2014 and 2018. She was named MVP of the gold-medal game in the 2018 FIBA World Championships.

Griner currently plays on the Phoenix Mercury.  Click here to read Griner’s full Team USA profile.  The women’s U.S. Basketball team defeated Nigeria in the first round, 81-72, with their next game being scheduled for July 29th, against Japan.

The Olympics will be taking place in Tokyo from July 23 – August 8, so be sure to tune in and show your support for these incredible athletes!

Sic ’em, Baylor Olympians!

 

 

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