Snack

2016 Olympic Athletes with Incredible Backstories

By July 27, 2016Snack
There’s more than meets the eye to some of athletes competing for gold in this year’s games, here’s who you should keep your Twitter eyes locked on to.

The return of the Games signals more than dramatic finishes and fantastic races, it’s also a time to get to know some of the roughly 10,500 athletes who will go for gold in the Olympics and Paralympics. Everyone loves a winner, but in the digital age, the public shows equal love and interest for athletes who have interesting backgrounds. Here are a few who fit the bill:

Nate Ebner

Twitter: @Nateebner34
Sport: Rugby
Country: U.S.

ebnerEbner’s day job is as a defensive back for the New England Patriot of the National Football League, but he took temporary leave from the team in May to pursue his Olympic dream.

Jenny Simpson

Twitter: @trackjenny
Sport: Track and Field
Country: U.S.

simpsonThis will be Simpson’s third Olympics, but she’s yet to bring home any medals. Is this her year?

Melissa Stockwell

Twitter: @MStockwell01
Sport: Paralympic Triathlon
Country: U.S.

stockwellThe first female soldier to lose a limb during the Iraq War.

Jahvid Best

Twitter: @J4hvidbest
Sport: Track and Field
Country: St. Lucia

bestAt just 25 years old, Best retired from the National Football League after suffering multiple concussions.

Oksana Chusovitina

Twitter: N/A
Sport: Gymnastics
Country: Uzbekistan

chusovitinaChusovitina will be 41 years old at the Games, making her the oldest Olympic female gymnast in history.

Genzebe Dibaba

Twitter: @GenzebeDibaba
Sport: Track and Field
Country: Ethiopia

dibabaForced to pull out of the 2012 Olympics with an injury during qualifiers, she and her sister Tirunesh (a three-time Olympic champion) are expected to compete for gold at a variety of distances.

Kanak Jha

Twitter: N/A
Sport: Table Tennis
Country: United States

jhaThis 16-year-old table tennis prodigy is the first American born in the 2000s to qualify for the Olympics.

Author Adam Ross

Adam Ross' work has appeared in The Washington Post, The Fiscal Times, and Government Executive Magazine. He has covered the 2008 presidential election, the Ted Stevens corruption trial, the nomination of supreme court justice Sonia Sotomayor, and conducted research work on the Pulitzer Prize-nominated series Careless Detention. He has also developed media courses for Georgetown University's graduate journalism school and guided content strategy for various Fortune 500 companies.

More posts by Adam Ross

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