Olympic Trials for Team USA took place throughout the last few months to decide who would compete in Tokyo. Once the dust settled, an incredible eight Dakota County athletes will represent the U.S. come August across eight different sports. The opening ceremony is July 23 at 6 a.m. central time, which is 8 p.m. in Tokyo. Events will be broadcast on NBC, NBCSN, CNBC, USA, the Olympic Channel, Golf Channel and the streaming platform Peacock. Read below about each of the athletes, how they qualified and when they will compete.
Regan Smith is a 19-year-old from Lakeville who graduated from Lakeville North in the spring of 2020 and is now at Stanford University. Smith won the 100-meter backstroke finals in 58.35 seconds at the U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials in Omaha on June 14. She also finished second in the 200 butterfly behind Hali Flickinger. Back in 2019, Smith set the record in the 100 backstroke with a mark of 57.57, which was only broken a few weeks before this year’s trials. Women’s 100 backstroke qualifying is Sunday, July 25; the semi-finals are the next day and finals are the 27th. The 200 butterfly qualifying is July 27, the semi-finals are the 28th and finals the 29th.
Payton Otterdahl from Rosemount and North Dakota State University qualified for his first Olympics by taking third in the shot put (21.92 meters) behind Joe Kovacs (22.34 m) and Ryan Crouser (23.37). Otterdahl edged out Darrel Hill, a former national champion and Olympic qualifier, by an inch to qualify. Men’s shot put qualification is Tuesday, August 3, and the final August 5.
Megan Kalmoe is a South St. Paul native who graduated from St. Croix Falls High School (Wis.) and the University of Washington. Kalmoe is a four-time Olympic rower (2008, 2012, 2016 and now 2021) after qualifying by winning the women’s pair final with Tracy Eisser at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials on June 5. With the win, Kalmoe and Eisser grabbed the final two spots on the rowing team. She will compete in the women’s quadruple sculls on Friday, July 23, and Tuesday, July 27.
Apple Valley’s Gable Steveson continues a dominant 2021 with his first Olympics. Just two weeks after winning an NCAA wrestling championship at 275 pounds, he qualified for the Olympics (125 kilograms) at the Team Trials for Wrestling in Fort Worth, Tex., on April 3. Steveson beat Greg Kerkvliet 11-0 in the semifinals and then took a best-of-three against Nick Gwiazdowski, who was ranked ahead of him, 10-0 and 11-4. Wrestling will take place August 2-7 in the final week of the games.
Mallory Weggemann of Eagan will compete in the 50, 100 and 400-meter freestyle; 100-meter backstroke; 100-meter breaststroke; 100-meter butterfly and 200-meter individual medley at the Paralympic Games. At just 18, Weggemann was paralyzed and two-and-a-half months later was inspired by the U.S. Team Trials at the Jean K. Freeman Aquatic Center on the University of Minnesota Campus for the Paralympic Games in Beijing. She competed in London in 2012 and Rio in 2016. Paralympic swimming runs from August 25-September 3.
Sergeant Patrick Sundermann of Farmington will compete in the 50-meter rifle three positions after qualifying for the U.S. Rifle Shooting Team. Sundermann graduated from Farmington High School in 2012 and went on to West Virginia University while also joining the West Virginia National Guard. He was a four-time NCAA champion on WVU’s rifle team and enlisted to active duty in 2016, where he was assigned to the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU) International Team as a shooter/instructor. Sundermann will train on Saturday, July 31, and Sunday, August 1, and then compete on August 2.
South St. Paul’s Sunisa Lee is in elite company at just 18 years old. While at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials in St. Louis for gymnastics, Lee was one of two gymnasts to receive automatic bids for finishing in the top-two of the all- around -- along with Simone Biles. In fact, Lee outscored Biles on the second night of competition. Lee also took second behind Biles at the national championships in 2019. Competition for artistic gymnastics runs from Saturday, July 24, to Tuesday, August 3.
Josh Cinnamo, a resident of Lakeville, will compete in his first Paralympics in the shot put as the reigning world champion. Since he started competing in 2014, Cinnamo has set several records in shot put, including the current world record of 16.80 meters. He won gold medals in 2019 at the Parapn American Games and the world Para Athletic Championships.