US to send second-largest team in history to Olympics

Washington(AFP): The United States will send the second-largest team in its history to compete at the Tokyo Olympics this month with women athletes making up more than half of the delegation for a third straight Summer Games, the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) said Tuesday.

The USOPC said in a statement that 613 athletes would take part in the Olympics, which open in Tokyo on July 23 after a one-year postponement caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Only the 648-member 1996 US Olympic team — when the Games were staged on home soil in Atlanta — was larger.

The 2021 team also includes 329 women, the third Summer Olympics in a row that female athletes have outnumbered their male counterparts.

“Team USA is ready. Our roster includes 613 remarkable athletes, one of our biggest teams ever, all who qualified to participate in these Games,” said USOPC chief executive Sarah Hirshland.

“In these extraordinary times, these athletes have shown perseverance, dedication and focus and have inspired us all. We are thrilled to support them as they live their dreams of competing on the biggest stage in sport.”

The team includes 193 returning Olympians, including one seven-time Olympian — equestrian’s Phillip Dutton — and eight five-time Olympians.

Fifteen athletes are competing in their fourth Olympics while 39 are participating in their third Games.

Multiple Olympic medallists spearheading the US challenge include track and field star Allyson Felix (nine medals), swimmer Allison Schmitt (eight), swimmer Katie Ledecky (six) and gymnast Simone Biles (five).

“The journey to be a part of the 2020 U.S. Olympic Team was like no other,” said Rick Adams, USOPC chief of sport performance.

“This team is special; these Games are special. The commitment from Team USA athletes and the National Governing Bodies never wavered, and for that we are grateful.”

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