July 23, 2021
Ten Tar Heels, including two current UNC student-athletes, are among more than 10,000 athletes set to compete in Tokyo over the next two weeks as part of the delayed 2020 Summer Olympics. Although some events have already taken place, the Games of the XXXII Olympiad officially get underway on Friday, with Opening Ceremonies at 7 a.m. ET (8 p.m. in Japan).
Anton Down-Jenkins, a rising senior at UNC, and Aranza Vazquez, a rising sophomore, will represent their home countries in 3-meter springboard diving, with Down-Jenkins competing for New Zealand and Vazquez for Mexico. They’re the first Tar Heels to compete in diving at the Olympics.
Former UNC student-athletes will compete in baseball (Tim Federowicz and Ryder Ryan for the U.S.), track & field (Kenny Selmon in the 400m hurdles for the U.S.) and soccer (Crystal Dunn and Tobin Heath for the U.S., Lucy Bronze and Lotte Wubben-Moy for Great Britain, and Katie Bowen for New Zealand).
In the sport’s first Olympic appearance since 2008, the U.S. team includes two former UNC players, catcher Tim Federowicz (UNC from 2006-08) and pitcher Ryder Ryan (2015-16), both of whom also attended high school in the state of North Carolina, at Apex and North Mecklenburg, respectively. Federowicz, a member of the 2006 All-College World Series Team as a Tar Heel, has played in the Major Leagues with nine different teams and is currently on a minor league contract in the Dodgers organization. Ryan is currently with the Texas Rangers’ Triple-A affiliate, the Round Rock Express.
Previous Tar Heel Olympic baseball competitors: B.J. Surhoff 1984, Scott Bankhead 1984
First competition: July 30th vs. Israel
Two current Tar Heels will compete for their home countries in 3-meter springboard. Aranza Vazquez, the Atlantic Coast Conference Female Diver of the Year in 2021, will make her first Olympic appearance, competing for her home country of Mexico. Anton Down-Jenkins, who also won ACC Diver of the Year honors as the Tar Heels swept the honor, is the first male diver from New Zealand to qualify for the Olympics since 1984.
A Tar Heel is also part of the New Zealand coaching staff, with UNC diving coach Yaidel Gamboa acting as an assistant coach.
Previous Tar Heel Olympic diving competitors: None
First competition for Vazquez: Women’s 3-meter springboard preliminaries, July 30
First men’s competition for Down-Jenkins: Men’s 3-meter springboard preliminaries, Aug. 2
The U.S. team includes two Tar Heels who are Olympic veterans in Crystal Dunn and Tobin Heath. Dunn (UNC 2010-13), who helped UNC to an NCAA title in 2012 and also won the MAC Hermann Trophy that year, is an Olympian for the second time after also competing in Rio. Heath (UNC 2006-09) was a three-time NCAA Champion at UNC and is making her third appearance in the Olympic Games. She won a gold medal in London in 2012 and also played in Rio.
First competition: Fell to Sweden on July 21
Next up: U.S. vs. New Zealand (see below) on July 24
Katie Bowen (UNC 2012-15) is another Olympic veteran. She’ll make her second appearance representing New Zealand after she was an alternate in 2012. At UNC, she was a teammate of Dunn’s on the 2012 NCAA Championship squad. She has been a member of New Zealand’s National Team since 2011.
First competition: Fell to Australia on July 21
Next up: New Zealand vs. U.S. (see above) on July 24
Additionally, two Tar Heels – Lotte Wubben-Moy (2017-19 at UNC) and Lucy Bronze (2009) – will make their Olympic debuts for Great Britain. Bronze currently plays for Manchester City and has been a member of England’s National Team since 2013. Wubben-Moy plays for Arsenal and made her first National Team appearance in the spring of 2021.
First competition: Beat Chile on July 21
Next up: Great Britain vs. Japan on July 24
Previous Tar Heel Olympic women’s soccer competitors: Laurie Gregg 1996; Tisha Venturini 1996; Kristine Lilly 1996, 2000, 2004; Mia Hamm 1996, 2000, 2004; Carla Werden Overbeck 1996, 2000; Staci Wilson 1996; Cindy Parlow 1996, 2000, 2004; Tiffany Roberts 1996; Tracy Noonan 1996; Siri Mullinix 2000; Lorrie Fair 2000; Catherine Reddick 2004; Heather O’Reilly 2004, 2008, 2012, 2016 (alternate); Lindsay Tarpley 2004, 2008; Lori Chalupny 2008; Tobin Heath 2008, 2012, 2016; Kacey White 2008; Robyn Gayle 2008, 2012 (Canada); Meghan Klingenberg 2012 (alternate), 2016; Katie Bowen 2016, (New Zealand); Whitney Engen 2016; Crystal Dunn 2016; Allie Long 2016; Ashlyn Harris 2016 (alternate)
TRACK & FIELD:
Kenny Selmon, a five-time All-America honoree as a Tar Heel from 2014-18, will make his first Olympic appearance after placing second in the men’s 400-meter hurdles at the U.S. Olympic Trials in Eugene, Ore., in June. His finals time of 48:08 was a personal best.
Selmon is the first Tar Heel to represent the U.S. in men’s track and field since 2008.
First competition: Round 1 of men’s 400m hurdles on July 29.
Previous Tar Heel Olympic men’s track and field competitors: Harry Williamson 1936; Bill Albans 1948; Chunk Simmons 1948, 1952; Jim Beatty 1960; Charles Foster 1976; C.J. Hunter 1996; Ken Harnden 1996, 2000; Allen Johnson 1996, 2000, 2004; Eddie Neufville 1996, 2000
Curtis Johnson 2000; Dominic Demeritte 2000, 2004, 2008; Vikas Gowda 2004, 2008, 2012, 2016 (India)
Follow @GoHeels on Twitter for updates on Tar Heels throughout the games.
• For a list of previous Tar Heel Olympians, click here.
• Click here for more info on Team USA.