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#TeamMelanin: Black Olympic Athletes You Need to Know  was originally published on

1. Crystal Dunn

Crystal Dunn

The soccer player is looking to continue the success she had in college where she became the only woman to win best offensive and defensive player in the same season. With the US team being the highest ranked in the world, her success is likely to continue.

2. Jordan Burroughs

Jordan Burroughs

The 2015 wrestling world champion is looking to add another gold to the one he won in the 2012 games.

3. Francena McCorory

Francena McCorory

With three NCAA championships already to her name, the relay runner will hope to make her eight siblings proud on track’s biggest stage.

4. Trayvon Bromell

Trayvon Bromell

When asked what it’s like to run against stars like Justin Gatlin and Usain Bolt, Bromell said, “It’s like running with your heroes. I never saw myself in this position when I was younger.” He now won’t only be running with his heroes, he’ll have a chance to beat them.

5. Kendrick Farris

Kendrick Farris

The only U.S. weightlifter to qualify for the Rio games, Farris has competed in both the 2012 and 2008 Olympics as well. He hopes to bring home his first medal in what is likely to be his last Olympic games.

6. Ashleigh Johnson

Ashleigh Johnson

As the first Black female water polo player to compete for the United States in the Olympics, Johnson has already been called “the future of our sport in the U.S.” by USA water polo CEO Christopher Ramsey.

7. Sloane Stephens

Sloane Stephens

Stephens will compete in her first Olympic games after a 2016 campaign that saw her winning three major trophies in international Tennis competition.

8. Paige McPherson

Paige McPherson

With the nickname “McFierce,” the 26-year-old TaeKwonDo athlete is looking to add a gold medal to the bronze she won in 2012.

9. Morolake Akinosun

Morolake Akinosun

The track star made news recently when she replied to her own tweet from five years ago, in which she wrote, “In 2016 I will be 22, graduated from a school I have not chosen yet, and going to the olympics.” Just before the games began she replied by saying, “I tweeted that 5 years ago. It’s 2016. I graduate from Texas in December. I’m going to the Olympics next week. “

10. Tina Charles

Tina Charles

Charles made news recently when she spoke out with other WNBA athletes in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. She will look to lead a dominant USA women’s team to an Olympic gold medal.

11. Shakur Stevenson

Shakur Stevenson

The 19-year-old is not lacking confidence in any way. When the boxer was asked what he is most looking forward to about the 2016 games he said, “The main thing I’m looking forward to after Rio is getting off the plane and going to Newark…Seeing all the people and how they feel about me coming back with a gold medal, I can’t wait for that moment.”

12. Claressa Shields

Claressa Shields

Shields became the first woman to win a boxing gold medal in 2012 when the sport was first included in the Olympics. She hasn’t lost since and looks to add to her extensive trophy case in Rio.

13. Simone Manuel

Simone Manuel

The swimmer has already snagged her first Olympic medal in this year’s 400-meter freestyle relay. She will look to add to that list in the many other races she is set to compete in.

14. Simone Biles

Simone Biles

The 4-foot-8 teenager is one of the highest ranked gymnasts in the world and is favored to win the all-around, floor, and vault. Raised by her grandmother and grandfather, she looks to make them proud once again in her first Olympic games.