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Everything you need to know about Latter-day Saints in the Tokyo Olympics

by | Jul. 26, 2021

Athletes from around the globe are getting ready to compete in the dream of a lifetime in Tokyo over the coming weeks, and among them are a handful of Latter-day Saints. Here's a list of who to watch for at the Tokyo Olympic Games and when to catch each of their events.

Editor’s note: While the information in this article has been reformatted, much of it is credited to the Church News. Read more of their Olympic coverage here.

Do you know of someone we missed? Please send us an email at editor@ldsliving.com.

► You may also like: How these 8 Latter-day Saint Olympians competing in Tokyo have shared their faith online

Valerie Adams: Shot Put, New Zealand

Fun facts: Valerie Adams already has two gold medals in the shot put, one from the 2008 Beijing Olympics and another from the 2012 London Olympics. She is also coaching her younger sister, Lisa Adams, in the Paralympic Games.

Results: 🥉 Valerie Adams won the Bronze medal, making this her fourth Olympic shot put medal.🥉


Jarod Arroyo, Individual Medley, Puerto Rico

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Fun fact: Jarod Arroyo, who is currently swimming at the collegiate level at Arizona State University, set a Puerto Rican record in the 400-meter individual medley earlier this year at the Puerto Rico International Open and says he’s been waiting for this moment for 10 years.

Results: Arroyo placed 22nd out of 29 swimmers in 400-meter individual medley qualifying heats on Saturday, July 24. He raced in the 200-meter individual medley heats on Wednesday, July 28, and placed 7th in his heat.

► You may also like: ‘A great honor’: Latter-day Saint swimmer representing Puerto Rico in Olympics shares his faith


Nagmeldin “Peter” Bol: Long-Distance Running, Australia

Fun fact: 27-year-old Peter Bol competed in the 800-meter race in the 2016 Olympics and won the Australian national championship in 2019.

Results: In the men’s 800-meter qualifying heats, Bol placed 2nd overall and first in his semifinal heat. He came in fourth in the 800-meter race final with a time of 1:45.92, on Wednesday, Aug. 4


Bruna Benites: Soccer, Brazil

Results: Brazil women’s soccer team beat China 5–0 on Wednesday, July 21, and tied with the Netherlands with a final score of 3–3 on Saturday, July 24th. They faced and defeated Zambia on July 27, but lost to Canada in the quarterfinals on Friday, July 30.


Jake Gibb, Beach Volleyball, USA

Fun facts: Jake Gibb has already seen his fair share of Olympic drama. His scheduled partner Taylor Crabb tested positive for COVID-19 just days before he was supposed to travel to Tokyo, so Gibb is now competing with alternate Tri Bourne. Gibb is also also the oldest volleyball player (beach or indoor) in Olympic history at 45 years old and competed in the 2008, 2012, and 2016 Games

Results: Gibb and his partner Tri Bourne lost to Germany in the round of 16.


Alexis Lagan, Pistol Shooting, USA

Fun facts: 28-year-old Alexis “Lexi” Lagan is competing for Team USA in her first Olympics in women’s sport pistol, women’s air pistol, and mixed air pistol events. Lagan has five US national championships under her belt.

Results: Lagan placed 38th out of 53 competitors in the 10-meter air pistol qualifiers. She also competed in the mixed air pistol events and placed 16th overall. She came in 21st overall in the women’s sport pistol events.


Nini Manumua: Weight Lifting, Tonga

Fun facts: Kuinini “Nini” Manumua started weight lifting when she was just 13 years old. Now, she will make history at the Tokyo Olympics by becoming the first woman ever to represent Tonga in the sport of weight lifting.

Results: Manumua came in 8th in her event, with a total lift weight of 228kg.

► You may also like: Latter-day Saint to become first female weight lifter to compete for Tonga at the Olympics


Jordan Gray Matyas: Rugby, USA

Fun facts: Jordan Matyas won a Rugby National Championship while playing for BYU in 2011. In 2015, she began playing professionally in San Diego and helped lead her team to a Women’s Premier League Championship.

Results: Team USA played and defeated China, Japan, and Australia, but lost to Great Britain in the quarterfinals.


Leilani Mitchell: Basketball, Australia

Fun facts: Leilani Mitchell, 5 feet, 5 inches, was named the Mountain West Conference Player of the Year while playing at the University of Utah. In 2008, she was drafted 25th overall by the Phoenix Mercury and currently plays professionally for the Sydney Uni Flames in the WNBL in Australia.

Results: Australia had a number of preliminary-round games against other countries including Belgium, China, and Puerto Rico, but lost 55-79 to the United States in the quarterfinals on Wednesday, Aug. 4, eliminating them from the competition.


Josué Dominguez: Swimming, Dominican Republic

Fun fact: Josué Dominguez qualified to compete in the 2016 Olympics in Rio, but he did not go because he chose to serve as a full-time missionary in the Mexico Puebla South Mission. 

Results: Dominguez raced in the 100-meter breaststroke qualifiers on Saturday, July 24, and placed 39th overall. He also competed in the 200-meter breaststroke and placed 3rd in his qualifying heat and 34th overall.


Semi Radradra: Rugby, Fiji

Fun fact: 29-year-old Semi Radradra has been a solid rugby sevens player since he started playing professionally in 2012. For the various teams he’s played for, Radradra has broken multiple NRL records, including becoming the first player to score consecutive hat-tricks in the first round of two separate seasons. Radradra married his high school sweetheart Vika Fifita in 2017 in the Suva Fiji Temple.

Results: 🥇The Fijian Rugby Sevens team won the gold medal after defeating New Zealand in the final match.🥇


Sarah Robles: Weight Lifting, USA

Fun facts: Sarah Robles holds two American records in weight lifting and didn't even start doing Olympic-style lifts until just four years before her first Olympic appearance in 2012. She won a bronze medal in the 75+ KG division at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Results: 🥉 Just one day after her 33rd birthday, Robles won a bronze medal in her event with a total lift weight of 282kg. Her bronze medal performance also made her the first U.S. woman to win two Olympic weightlifting medals.🥉


Taylor Sander: Volleyball, USA

Fun facts: Taylor Sander, 6 feet, 4 inches, won a bronze medal with the US Olympic team in Rio in 2016, and his brother Brendan is an alternate for this year's Olympic team, as well.

Results: Sander and Team USA won three straight matches against France in preliminary play on Saturday, July 24, lost against ROC (Russia) two days later but then defeated Tunisia on July 28. They lost to Brazil on July 30 when the Brazilian team took the match in four sets, 3-1.


MyKayla Skinner, Gymnastics, USA

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Fun facts: 24-year-old Mykayla Skinner finished fifth in the all-around competition at the US Olympic Trials and was selected to compete in Team USA’s final individual spot. After being an alternate in the 2016 Rio Olympics, Skinner had an incredible collegiate career at the University of Utah and was the two-time NCAA champion on vault and floor exercises.

Results: 🥈 Skinner's teammate Simone Biles placed first in the vault qualifying rounds but chose to withdraw from the event, so Skinner took her place and came away a silver medal in the vault competition on August 1.🥈

► You may also like: Going for the goal: Why MyKayla Skinner is giving the Olympics one more shot


Rhyan White, Backstroke, USA

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Fun facts: Rhyan White has never competed internationally. But at the US Olympic Trials, White surprised everyone by finishing in second place in the 100-meter backstroke. And when it came time for the 200-meter backstroke qualifier, White gave viewers and competitors alike an even bigger shock when she won the race, beating the world-record holder Regan Smith in the event.

Results: White swam in both the 100-meter backstroke medal race and the 200-meter backstroke medal race and came in 4th in both races. She also helped Team USA advance to the final of the women’s 4x100 medley, but a different set of swimmers raced in the final and took home a silver medal.

Do you know of someone we missed? Please send us an email at editor@ldsliving.com.
Lead image: FamousMormons.net
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Haley Lundberg

Haley is a marketing specialist and copywriter for Deseret Book and LDS Living with a passion for writing and social media. Previously, she worked as a social media specialist for Boncom, where she assisted with influencer marketing and social media management for Church campaigns like “Light the World” and “Because of Him.” When she isn't working with her incredible LDS Living team, you can find Haley traveling with her husband, Mike, and snuggling her little boy, Calvin.

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