If you're a longtime resident of St. Louis, you probably won't be surprised that St. Louis and areas that surround it are pumping out some major athletic talent today. And that impact is even larger than we often realize. When you take a closer look at Team USA's roster for the Tokyo Olympics, the number of athletes connected to the St. Louis area really stands out.
Here's a list of a few of the Team USA members with ties to St. Louis.
Michelle Bartsch-Hackley (Volleyball)
Michelle Bartsch-Hackley is a native of Collinsville, Illinois and a graduate of Collinsville High School.She played volleyball collegiately for the University of Illinois in Champaign and was inducted into the Illinois Athletics Hall of Fame in 2020. Bartsch-Hackley is an outside hitter, and was an alternate on the 2016 Olympic team in Rio.
Gwen Berry (Hammer Throw)
Gwen Berry grew up in St. Louis and actually graduated from McCluer High School in Florissant in 2007. Berry was an Olympian in the hammer throw in 2016 in Rio where she placed 14th. She was an alternate for the London team in 2012. At the 2019 Pan American Games Berry won a gold medal, and raised her fist during the playing of the National Anthem in protest. When she finished third in the hammer throw in the Olympic Track and Field trials in Oregon in June, Berry made headlines again. While the National Anthem was played during the podium ceremony, Berry turned away from the flag and draped her t-shirt that read "Activist Athlete" over her head.
Becky Sauerbrunn (Soccer)
Becky Sauerbrunn is the captain of the United States Women's National team in soccer. She was born in St. Louis. Sauerbrunn also graduated from Ladue High School in 2003, and went on to play collegiately at the University of Virginia. She currently plays professionally for the Portland Thorns of the NWSL.Tokyo will be Sauerbrunn's third Olympics for the USWNT, taking gold in London in 2012 and finishing fifth in Rio in 2016.
Napheesa Collier (Basketball)
Napheesa Collier was born in Jefferson City and grew up in the St. Louis area. She graduated from Incarnate Word Academy where she helped the team win three Missouri Class 4 state championships in basketball. After Incarnate Word, Collier joined the powerhouse UConn Huskies women's basketball program where she helped Connecticut make it to four Final Fours, winning it all in 2016. The Minnesota Lynx drafted Collier with the No. 6 overall pick in the 2019 WNBA Draft, and she went on to win the rookie of the year award in her first season.
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