Ready to Rock

4 Houstonians to Watch at the Summer Olympics

From the world's greatest gymnast to a hopeful boxer, here are our favorites.

By Jaisal Kalapatapu June 22, 2021

We love the Olympics. Every four years—or in this case, five—it gives us so much pride to see Americans competing and succeeding at the highest level. But do you know what gives us even more pride? Seeing Houstonians succeed at the highest level, naturally.

The Tokyo Olympics are set to begin July 23. Here are some Houstonians to watch for as we wrap up the Olympic Trials and move closer to the Opening Ceremony.

Simone Biles

Simone Biles may go down in history as the best athlete from Houston. Full stop.

Between world championships and the Olympics, Biles has 30 medals, making her the most decorated U.S. gymnast of all-time—and third most in the world. The Spring native has not lost in all-around competition since 2013, when she was just 16

The Queen of Gymnastics won her seventh-straight U.S. Championship in June and shows no signs of stopping as we get closer to the Olympics. Her continued dominance is simply unparalleled, and she aims to make America—and Houston—proud in Tokyo.   

Matthew Boling

You may remember Boling as the Houston high schooler who, in 2019, garnered national attention for running the 100 m race in under 10 seconds, becoming the first U.S. high schooler to do so. Since then, Boling was named Gatorade’s 2019 Boys Track and Field Athlete of the Year, set multiple records in the Texas state championships, and has been competing for the University of Georgia’s track and field team, where he has won numerous accolades and set school records.

Now, the Strake Jesuit graduate has been competing in the U.S. Olympic Trials with the hopes of moving on to Tokyo. Boling did not qualify in the 100 m race, finishing 14th in the semifinal, but is set to compete in the 200 m race on Friday.

Simone Manuel

Five years ago, Simone Manuel became the first Black woman to win an Olympic gold medal in a swimming event. The Sugar Land native tied with Canadian Penny Oleksiak for gold in the 100m freestyle, in addition to winning a silver medal in the 4 x 100 m freestyle. Now, the 24 year old is back and ready to win more medals in Tokyo. 

While Manuel did not qualify to compete in the 100 m freestyle race that she won five years ago, she did qualify for the 50 m freestyle, winning the trial by 0.01 seconds. Manuel, who has been open with her struggle against overtraining syndrome, will get a chance to prove herself once again in Tokyo.

Ginny Fuchs

Virginia “Ginny” Fuchs was not always a boxer. In fact, she was a runner for much of her life. 

At Episcopal High School, Fuchs ran track and cross-country for the Knights, and her abilities allowed her to get an invitation to walk on with the Louisiana State University team, where she would take up boxing in order to stay in shape. She later dedicated her focus to boxing and became an Olympic-caliber athlete. 

The left-handed boxer recently placed first in the U.S. Olympic Trials. She will go to Tokyo to compete in her first Olympics at age 33.

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