20 Wildcats headed to Olympics

The Olympic rings float on a barge ahead of the 2020 Summer Olympics, Monday, July 19, 2021, in...
The Olympic rings float on a barge ahead of the 2020 Summer Olympics, Monday, July 19, 2021, in Tokyo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)(Charlie Riedel | AP)
Published: Jul. 21, 2021 at 6:44 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

LEXINGTON, Ky. – A school-record total of 20 current and former University of Kentucky athletes and coaches will represent 10 countries across a range of five sports in the Summer Olympic Games to be held in Tokyo, Japan, from July 21 through August 8.

Nine Wildcats will compete for the United States, two for The Bahamas and Puerto Rico, and one each for Italy, Jamaica, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Trinidad and Tobago, and Zimbabwe.  Nine of the competitors will be in athletics (track and field), four in basketball, three in shooting (rifle) and two each in softball and swimming.

Additional notes on this year’s UK Athletics Olympic class:

  • The total of 20 competitors shatters the school record of nine, set in 1948, when all nine were associated with the UK men’s basketball team.
  • Two Wildcats are making their second appearance, as Jasmine Camacho-Quinn and Leah Nugent also competed in 2016.
  • This is the fourth consecutive Olympiad featuring a UK men’s basketball player, following gold-medal winners DeMarcus Cousins (2016), Anthony Davis (2012) and Tayshaun Prince (2008).
  • This is the fourth consecutive Olympiad featuring a Wildcat in track and field.
  • Over the years, UK athletes have represented 16 countries. This year’s event will mark the first time that UK has had an athlete represent Italy, Mexico, New Zealand and Norway.
  • This will be the first Olympiad featuring a Wildcat in softball.

In addition, two additional athletes currently associated with the university, who have not been part of the varsity athletics program, will compete at the games.  Lee Kiefer and Gerek Meinhardt, who are students at the UK College of Medicine, have competed in multiple Olympics in fencing. Meinhardt won the bronze medal in men’s foil in 2016.

Competition schedule for sports featuring these athletes, with all dates based on Tokyo time:

  • Athletics (track and field): July 30-August 8
  • Men’s Basketball: July 25-August 7
  • Fencing: July 24-August 1
  • Shooting: July 24-August 2
  • Softball: July 21-27
  • Swimming: July 24-August 1

2020 UK Athletics Summer Olympians

Bam Adebayo, USA Basketball (UK 2016-17 season)

·        Led Kentucky to the 2017 Elite Eight

·        2020 NBA All-Star

·        Helped Miami Heat to the 2020 NBA Finals

Devin Booker, USA Basketball (UK 2014-15 season)

·        2015 SEC Sixth Man of the Year

·        Led the Phoenix Suns to the 2021 NBA Finals for the first time since 1993

·        Two-time NBA All-Star

Jasmine Camacho-Quinn, Puerto Rico T&F (UK 2016-18)

·        Making her second Olympics appearance in the 100-meter hurdles

·        Three-time NCAA champion, twice in the 100m hurdles and once in the 4x100m relay

·        Five-time SEC champ, three in the 100 hurdles, also once in the 60m hurdles and 4x400 relay

Brittany Cervantes, Mexico Softball (UK 2009-12)

·        Making her first Olympic appearance

·        Second all-time at Kentucky with 48 career home runs

·        Hit .357 during the Olympic Qualifying tournament with six runs scored, one HR and five RBI

Devynne Charlton, Bahamas T&F

·        Will run the 100-meter hurdles

·        Currently a volunteer assistant coach with the Kentucky track and field team

·        Ran collegiate track at Purdue for current UK head coach Lonnie Greene, winning an NCAA silver medal in the 100m hurdles, along with NCAA silver and bronze medals in the 60m hurdles

Ali Galyer, New Zealand Swimming (UK 2016-20)

·        Will compete in the 100m backstroke, 200m backstroke, 4x200m freestyle relay

·        UK record holder in 400 medley relay, 400 free relay, 800 free relay

·        Four-time SEC silver medalist, five-time SEC bronze medalist

·        Four-time NCAA qualifier and four-time First-Team All-American

Keni Harrison, USA T&F (UK 2014-15)

·        World record holder in the 100-meter hurdles, will compete in that event in the Olympics

·        National Track Athlete of the Year as a senior when she won the NCAA indoor 60m hurdles championship and outdoor 100m hurdles title

·        Elected to the 2021 class of the UK Athletics Hall of Fame

Keldon Johnson, USA Basketball (UK 2018-19 season)

·        2019 Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Year and an All-SEC Second Team selection

·        Member of the 2019 Elite Eight team

·        Averaged 12.8 points and 6.0 rebounds in his second season with the San Antonio Spurs

Alexia Lacatena, Italy Softball (will enroll at UK in August)

·        Signed with Kentucky for the Class of 2021, will be a freshman this season for UK

·        Helped Italy win the 2021 European Softball Championship

·        Played her high school softball at Lenape Valley HS in Stanhope, New Jersey

·        Two-time first-team all-state, ranks as the No. 37 player in the nation in the Class of 2021

Henrik Larsen, Norway Shooting (UK 2017-18)

·        Will shoot in the men’s 50-meter smallbore

·        In his only season in Lexington, he won the individual air rifle national title at the 2018 NCAA Championships after trailing in the final

·        Led the team to a national title, posting the highest aggregate score of any Wildcat in every match

·        Set school records across the board in smallbore, aggregate, and air rifle and was named a first team All-American in all three disciplines

Sydney McLaughlin, USA T&F (UK 2018)

·        Won the U.S. Olympic Trials 400m hurdles with a world-record time of 51.90 seconds, the first female under 52 seconds

·        NCAA and SEC champion in the 400 hurdles in her only season at UK

·        Set the NCAA 400 hurdles record (52.75) that still stands

Megan Moss, Bahamas T&F (UK 2019-present)

·        Will run the 4x400-meter relay after finishing third in the 400m dash at The Bahamas National Championships

·        First-team All-America in the 4x400 at the 2021 NCAA Indoor and Outdoor Championships as UK finished fifth and eighth, respectively

·        Ran the lead leg on the relay that set the UK indoor record in February

Leah Nugent, Jamaica T&F (UK 2014-15)

·        Making her second Olympics appearance in the 400-meter hurdles

·        NCAA bronze medalist in the 400m hurdles

·        Ranks in the top five in school history in the 100m and 400m hurdles

Javianne Oliver, USA T&F (UK 2015-17)

·        Finished second in the 100-meter dash at the U.S. Olympic Trials

·        Silver medalist in the 60m dash at the 2017 NCAA Indoor Championships

·        Ranks No. 2 on the all-time UK list in the 60m dash and is No. 4 in the 100m dash

Jennifer O’Neill, Puerto Rico Basketball (UK 2011-15)

·        Two-time SEC Sixth Player of the Year and was All-SEC Second Team by league coaches twice during her career

·        On top of ranking 15th on UK’s all-time scoring list with 1,356 points, she hit 197 3-pointers during her career, which ranks fourth all-time

·        One of the highlights of her career was a school-record 43-point output in Kentucky’s four overtime win over ninth-ranked Baylor in 2013

Daniel Roberts, USA T&F (UK 2017-19)

·        Finished third in the 110-meter hurdles at the U.S. Olympic Trials

·        2019 U.S. Champion

·        Two-time NCAA silver medalist (60m hurdles and 110m hurdles) and SEC 110m hurdles champ

Will Shaner, USA Shooting (UK 2018-present)

·        Will compete in men’s 10-meter air rifle and mixed shooting 10m air rifle

·        NCAA air rifle Individual national runner-up in 2021, helping Kentucky to its third national team title

·        Was a first-team CRCA All-America in all three disciplines in 2021 and was first-team overall in 2020

·        Is a nine-time first-team All-Great America Rifle Conference honoree and was named national rookie of the year as a freshman in 2019

Dwight St. Hillaire, Trinidad and Tobago T&F (UK 2017-present)

·        Slated to compete in the 400-meter dash and 4x400m relay

·        2021 first-team All-America in four events – indoor and outdoor 400m, plus indoor and outdoor 4x400 relay

·        Holds three school records – indoor 400m and as part of the indoor and outdoor 4x400 relays

Mary Tucker, USA Shooting (UK 2019-present)

·        Will compete in women’s 10-meter air rifle, women’s 50m smallbore and mixed team shooting 10m air rifle

·        Smallbore, air rifle and overall individual NCAA Champion in 2021, leading the Wildcats to the third national team title in program history

·        Two-time National Athlete of the Year by the Collegiate Rifle Coaches Association and is a first-team All-America honoree in all three disciplines each of the last two seasons.

·        Is the only UK athlete to qualify for the Olympics in both air rifle and smallbore

Peter Wetzlar, Zimbabwe Swimming (UK 2016-20)

·        Will compete in the 50-meter freestyle

·        UK record holder in the 50 free and as a part of the 200 medley relay, 200 free relay, 400 free relay

·        2020 All-SEC Second Team and 2020 NCAA qualifier

·        2019 SEC bronze medal in 400 free relay

Copyright 2021 WYMT. All rights reserved.