With the Tokyo Olympics set to begin in the coming days, Penn State will be plenty visible with 21 participants representing five countries as the games begin on July 21.
The Opening Ceremonies for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics are set to take place Friday, July 23 and the closing ceremonies are Sunday, August 8. The first Penn Staters in action are former Nittany Lion standout Alyssa Naeher and current head coach Erica Dambach when the women’s soccer team takes on Sweden Wednesday, July 21 at 4:30 a.m. (ET).
Not including the 1980 Olympics in Moscow, where 65 countries did not participate, Penn State has sent athletes to each Summer Olympic Games since 1948, a streak of 18 consecutive Games. Penn State sent a school-record 22 competitors and coaches to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.
Penn State’s 2020 Olympians:
13 former student-athletes competing (9 USA, 1 Mexico, 1 Japan, 1 Egypt, 1 Ireland)
1 current student-athlete competing (Mexico)
1 former student-athlete coaching (Japan)
4 current coaches coaching (USA)
1 former club student competing (USA)
1 former student-athlete serving as team physician (USA)
Dambach is coaching in the Olympics for the second time as an assistant coach for the US women’s soccer team. She also served as an assistant coach for the US in the 2008 games in Beijing. Men’s basketball letterman Tom Hovasse is in his second Olympic Games as the head coach of Japan’s women’s basketball team.
Penn State wrestling coaches Cael Sanderson, Casey Cunningham and Cody Sanderson are serving as personal coaches at the Tokyo Olympics, while former women’s gymnastics standout Dr. Ellen Casey is the women’s gymnastics team physician for the United States.
In addition to the 21 competitors and coaches, a trio of Nittany Lions were selected as Olympic alternates: Aaron Russell (men’s volleyball), Megan Courtney (women’s volleyball) and Erin McCloud (women’s soccer; Canada).
The 10 first-time Olympians boost Penn State’s total to 118 all-time competitors or coaches (not selections).
Penn State competitors have won 33 medals, including five gold-medal efforts, from its 108 previous Olympians. The Nittany Lions’ record contingent at the London Games won one silver and four bronze medals in men’s track and field (Joe Kovacs), men’s fencing (Miles Chamley-Watson), women’s fencing (Monica Aksamit), women’s volleyball (Christa Harmotto Dietzen and Alisha Glass) and men’s volleyball (Matt Anderson, Max Holt and Aaron Russell).
Penn State’s Tokyo 2020 Olympians
Matt Anderson Men’s Volleyball USA
Kayla Canett-Oca Rugby USA
Ellen Casey (team physician) Women’s Gymnastics USA
Gabe Castano Swimming Mexico Current Student-Athlete
Casey Cunningham (personal coach) Wrestling USA Current Assistant Coach
Erica Dambach (asst. coach) Women’s Soccer USA Current Head Coach
Micha Hancock Women’s Volleyball USA
Mohamed Hassan Men’s Fencing Egypt
Max Holt Men’s Volleyball USA
Tom Hovasse (head coach) Women’s Basketball Japan
Joe Kovacs Track & Field USA
Andrew Mackiewicz Men’s Fencing USA
Alyssa Naeher Women’s Soccer USA
Melissa Rodriguez Swimming Mexico
Shane Ryan Swimming Ireland
Cael Sanderson (personal coach) Wrestling USA Current Head Coach
Cody Sanderson (personal coach) Wrestling USA Current Assistant Coach
Michael Shuey Track & Field USA
Kaito Streets Men’s Fencing Japan
David Taylor Wrestling USA
Haleigh Washington Women’s Volleyball USA
Nittany Lion Wrestling Club Members
Bekzod Abdurakhmonov Wrestling Uzbekistan
Thomas Gilman Wrestling USA
Franklin Gomez Wrestling Puerto Rico
Helen Maroulis Wrestling USA
Kyle Snyder Wrestling USA
Jane Valencia Wrestling Mexico