The 10 young Americans bound to become household names at the Tokyo Olympics

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Jackson Thompson
·6 min read
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  • Team USA will feature some exciting young faces at the Tokyo Olympics.

  • Sydney McLaughlin, Noah Lyles, and Morgan Hurd are just some of the budding stars representing America this year.

  • The young competitors will look to show their skills on the world stage and build up their global reputations in Tokyo.

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

The Olympics are a proving ground for young, ambitious athletes to claim their moment on the world stage.

After a year of delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic, America's finest young athletes are reved up and ready to show what they can do. And they're ready to do it in front of a global audience at the 2021 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.

Here's a look at the young Americans looking to achieve global fame at this year's Summer Olympics.

Sydney McLaughlin - Track and Field

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Sydney McLaughlin is already a budding household name after becoming the youngest American to participate in the Olympics since 1972 at the Rio games in 2016. At just 16 years of age, McLaughlin finished 16th in the 400-meter hurdles.

Five years later, a polished McLaughlin, who claimed first place at the 2019 IAAF World Athletics Championships, is a heavy favorite to bring a medal to the United States.

Noah Lyles - Track and Field

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Noah Lyles has done something only once achieved by the great Usain Bolt.

In 2018, Lyles broke the 19.7-second mark in the 200-meter dash at four different competitions. Lyles has no shortage of confidence that he could be in the same class as Bolt. In 2016, he took a risk on himself by passing on a scholarship offer from the University of Florida to jump straight into the pros, according to Stephen Ruiz of the Orlando Sentinel.

He's been nothing short of the world's fastest-rising sprinting star ever since.

Grant Holloway - Track and Field

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Grant Holloway did enroll at Florida, but there was a catch. Holloway initially committed to play wide receiver for the Gators' storied football program but came to the epiphany that, deep down, he didn't see himself as a 'team player,' according to NBC.

Holloway knew he was destined to compete as an individual and decided to switch to track in college. Holloway's decision yielded Florida eight NCAA championships in four different events from the only man in collegiate history to win three consecutive indoor and outdoor high hurdles titles.

If Holloway establishes himself as a champion on a global stage, then young athletes across the world may have a unique example to follow when deciding between team or individual sports.

A'ja Wilson - Basketball

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A'ja Wilson is already making her case to be a household name in the United States as the reigning WNBA MVP – and favorite to repeat this year. Leading Team USA to a gold medal on the world stage would be a surefire way to boost her profile around the globe.

At just 24 years of age, Wilson is a rising sports icon, on and off the court. Wilson regularly appears as a guest on nationally syndicated NPR programs and has already seen a statue constructed in her image at her alma mater, The University of South Carolina.

Wilson also isn't shy about using her platform for activism and is a firm supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement.

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Carson Foster - Swimming

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Carson Foster has been US swimming's breakout teen star over the last few years and is a contender to qualify for The Olympics at just 17 years old. His commitment to the sport even pushed him to accelerate his academics, graduating high school a year early in 2019 to focus on Olympic training.

Foster will become the first male swimmer under 18 in two decades to qualify for the Olympics if he makes it.

If his records are any indication, he has a good shot. Foster broke youth records previously held by the great Michael Phelps, who has even gone so far as to congratulate Foster for breaking the marks, according to NBC.

Kathleen Baker - Swimming

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Kathleen Baker is making her second trip to the Olympics after qualifying as a 19-year-old in 2016. Baker won gold in the 4x100-meter medley relay, silver in the 100-meter backstroke, and bronze in the 200-meter backstroke.

With one gold medal under her belt, Baker already has a paid endorsement deal with startup health food brand Daily Harvest. Her list of endorsements is sure to get bigger if she can put up a repeat performance this summer.

Nick Suriano - Wresting

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Nick Suriano became the story of the 2018-19 college wrestling season when he beat the odds to win the National Championship in the 133-lb weight class. Suriano transferred from Penn State, a dynasty of college wrestling, to conference rival Rutgers, an upstart program still looking for its first national champion.

Suriano's final bout in the NCAA Tournament even came against former high school rival Daton Fix in a dramatic 4-2 double-overtime victory.

Suriano will compete for qualification at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials, but doesn't know where that will be yet after his former school, Penn State, abruptly moved the event off their campus.

Morgan Hurd - Gymnastics

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At just 19 years of age, Morgan Hurd is one of the most accomplished gymnasts of the last decade.

She is a six-time gold medalist across The Artistic Gymnastics World Championships, The Artistic Gymnastics World Cup, the Pacific Rim Championships, and the Pan American Games.

Hurd will be returning to some lucky ground. After winning gold at The Artistic Gymnastics World Cup in Tokyo in 2019, Hurd will look to claim the next great victory in her career in the same city.

Hurd is also an activist and a vocal proponent for women's rights.

Tom Schaar - Skateboarding

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Tom Schaar has been a world record holder since the age of 12, when he became the youngest skater to successfully execute a 1080 (three full airborne rotations of a skateboard) at the 2012 X-Games – en-route to becoming the youngest ever to win gold at the event.

Schaar will get his first opportunity to showcase his airborne ability on the world's stage in Tokyo this summer.

Janie Reed - Softball

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If team USA can recapure the magic from its 2004 gold medal team, look for Janie Reed to emerge as a figure of west coast sports royalty in the near future.

Reed is not only a two-time WBSC Women's World Championship Gold Medalist and three-time First-Team All-Pac 12, but she's married to Jake Reed, a pitcher in the Los Angeles Angels' farm system.

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