Summer Olympic preview: Five events with Philadelphia flavor

Summer Olympic preview: Five events with Philadelphia flavor
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There are 555 members of the U.S, Olympic team that will be heading to Rio next week: 263 men, 292 women.

So no one should be surprised a number of them come from various parts of the Delaware Valley. We’ve already told you about keirin cyclist Matt Baranoski and the eight-man rowing team that included Steve Kasprzyk, Tyler Nase, Glenn Ochal and Sam Ojserkis.

Now here’s five more sports to watch where locals could shine.

Women’s Field Hockey

For whatever reason we seem to breed field hockey players around these parts, including a stick sister act. Twenty-six year old Katie Reinprecht and little sister Julia, 24, of Perkasie did this once before —in London, where the U.S. finished 12th. So did Katie Bam of Blue Bell and Cherry Hill’s Michelle Vitesse.

And then there’s team captain Lauren Crandall of Doylestown, along with Berlin, NJ’s Rachel Dawson. This will be their third Olympics, starting off in Beijing, where Team USA took eighth.

With such an experienced squad just from around here alone, maybe this is the year they finally make some noise.


Junior Burroughs of Sicklerville, NJ, already has one gold medal, courtesy of winning his weight class in London. Now the two-time NCAA champion from Nebraska, in the 163 pound class, is out to prove it’s no fluke. The 28-year-old from Winslow Township took the Pan American championships in 2011 and again last year. Can he do the same with the rest of the world watching in Rio?

RELATED LINK: Local rowers seeking medals, redemption in Rio


Kyle Lowry is only the third native Philadelphian with a Big Five pedigree to be named to Team USA in hoops. He joins St Joseph’s Mike Bantom, a member of the 1972 squad that lost to Russia in a gold medal game that was so controversial the Americans refused to accept their silver medal and LaSalle’s Michael Brooks from the 1980 team that couldn’t compete in Moscow due to the boycott.

The former Villanova standout point guard may seems an unlikely choice for this 2016 “Dream Team.” But with Steph Curry, Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook declining, when a spot opened up for the former Cardinal Dougherty star he grabbed it.

And don’t forget Elena Delle Donne of Wilmington who figures to give the women’s team another golden opportunity.

Women’s Soccer

This will likely be it for Delran’s Carli Lloyd, who’s coming off her career year. Last time we saw her she was scoring a hat trick in the finals of the World Cup vs. Japan, earning her both the Golden Ball and Silver Boot awards from FIFA.

Now she’s be going for a different hat trick in Rio: her third gold. And keep in mind Lloyd scored the game winner in 2008 vs. Brazil, then 2012 against Japan.

They’re just some of Carli’s many accomplishments according to her Olympic bio, which runs almost a full page.

Of course there’s always room for more.

Track and Field

The U.S. women’s track team has a quartet of local runners. Heading the list is Philadelphian Nia Ali, two-time world champion in the 60 hurdles. The only problem is the 60 hurdles is not an Olympic event, only the 100. How those extra 40 meters translates will make all the difference in the world.

Voorhees, NJ’s English Gardner, though, will compete in her specialties, the

100 and 400 relay. She took second in last year’s World Championships.

Then there’s 23-year-old Philly native Taylor Ellis-Watson, who’ll be running in the 1600 meter relay. The Springside School grad placed second in her event at the 2016 NCAA Championships while running for Arkansas.

The 800 run will feature Ajee Wilson, who was born in Philly but grew up in Neptune, NJ. She’s silver medalist in the 2016 Worlds.

Turning to the field events, Darby’s Darrell Hill is entered in the shot put. The 22-year-old Penn State grad earned fourth place in the 2015 Pan Am Games.

And there’s one other familiar name with a deep connection from the past. High jumper Vasti Cunningham may come from Vegas. But her father/coach will always be considered one of our own: Randall Cunningham.