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Penn State Well Represented at Tokyo Olympics

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