Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant is among several All-Star players who have committed to play for Team USA at the Summer Games in Tokyo. Photo by Jason Szenes/EPA-EFE
June 23 (UPI) -- A dozen skateboarders, as well as several of the world's top golfers and basketball players, announced this week they plan to represent Team USA at the pandemic-postponed 2020 Olympics this summer in Tokyo.
NBA All-Star Kevin Durant, golfer Justin Thomas, track star Allyson Felix and 23-time Grand Slam tennis champion Serena Williams are among the top American athletes to qualify for the Summer Games, which run from July 23 to Aug. 8.
Other American athletes, like four-time Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles, are near locks to appear in the games, but are not yet officially qualified to compete.
More than 500 athletes in total are expected to compete for Team USA in more than 40 sports. Olympic qualifying ends June 29.
Historic skateboarding team
USA Skateboarding announced the Team USA roster Monday. The sport will make its Summer Games debut, along with karate, sport climbing and surfing. Baseball and softball also return to the Olympics lineup after a brief hiatus.
Corey Juneau, of San Diego, Heimana Reynolds, of Honolulu, and Zio Wright, of Jupiter, Fla., qualified to represent the United States in men's park skateboarding events.
Brighton Zeuner and Bryce Wettstein, of Encinitas, Calif., and Jordyn Barratt, of Haleiwa, Hawaii, qualified for women's park events in Tokyo.
Jake Ilardi, of Osprey, Fla., Jagger Eaton, of Mesa, Ariz., and Nyjah Huston, of Laguna Beach, Calif., qualified for men's street. Mesa's Alana Smith, Alexis Sablone, of Old Saybrook, Conn., and Albuquerque's Mariah Duran qualified for women's street.
Skateboarding events run July 25 to Aug. 5 at Tokyo's Ariake Urban Sports Park.
Thomas, DeChambeau on U.S. golf team
World No. 3 Justin Thomas, No. 4 Collin Morikawa, No. 5 Xander Schauffele and No. 6 Bryson DeChambeau made the cut for Team USA's men's golf team. Countries are allowed to bring up to four golfers to the Games if each player ranks inside the top 15 in the Official World Golf Ranking.
The United States is the only country that meets that requirement.
"I'm going and I'm so excited," Morikawa told reporters Sunday at the U.S. Open in San Diego. "Obviously it's a consolation compared to not winning the [U.S. Open].
"It's going to be one of the best things in my life."
All other countries will be limited to two representatives at the Summer Games.
No. 1 Jon Rahm, who won the U.S. Open on Sunday, and Rafa Cabrera Bello will represent Spain. American Dustin Johnson, ranked No. 2, opted out of Olympic competition. No. 10 Rory McIlroy qualified and will represent Ireland.
Japan's Hideki Matsuyama, the 2021 Masters champion, also qualified.
The women's golf team will be drawn from the Rolex Rankings after next week's Women's PGA Championship. Nelly Korda, Danielle Kang, Lexi Thompson and Jessica Korda are the highest-ranked Americans.
The Games' golf competition runs from July 29 to Aug. 1.
Durant, Booker among basketball commits
The Olympics basketball schedule runs from July 26 to Aug. 8.
Sources told ESPN, The Athletic, the Miami Herald and the New York Daily News this week that Kevin Durant, Damian Lillard, Bam Adebayo, Draymond Green, Bradley Beal, Jayson Tatum, Devin Booker, Zach LaVine, Khris Middleton, Kevin Love, Jrue Holiday and Jerami Grant are the 12 players who have committed to play for Team USA.
Brooklyn Nets star James Harden initially planned to compete at the Olympics, but he was forced to withdraw because of a nagging hamstring injury.
The U.S. men will be heavy favorites to win the gold medal.
The Team USA women's basketball roster was announced Monday. Sue Bird, Diana Taurasi, Sylvia Fowles, Tina Charles, Brittney Griner, Breanna Stewart, Jewell Loyd, A'ja Wilson, Ariel Atkins, Napheesa Collier, Skylar Diggins-Smith and Chelsea Gray will compete for the gold medal in Tokyo.
"USA Basketball has never been in a better place," Team USA women's coach Dawn Staley said in a news release. "I'm honored to be the coach of such an amazing collection of talented women, both those named to the team and those who gave their all the last few years but won't be with us in Tokyo.
"The fact that some of the players who won't suit up this summer would start for any other country is a testament to their talent and to what USA Basketball has done to build a program that lifts up our female athletes every single day."
Gauff, Kenin, S. Williams on tennis team
Twenty-three-time Grand Slam winner Serena Williams, 2020 Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin, 2021 Australian Open finalist Jennifer Brady and 17-year-old phenom Cori "Coco" Gauff are among the tennis stars who are qualified to represent Team USA this summer in Tokyo.
Taylor Fritz and Tommy Paul clinched spots on the men's team.
Gauff and Kenin have said they plan to accept their invitation to compete, while Williams still is considering playing.
World No. 1 Ash Barty plans to compete for Australia. No. 2 Naomi Osaka, who is on a hiatus from the WTA Tour and Grand Slams, plans to compete for Japan. No. 3 Simona Halep of Romania, No. 4 Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus and No. 5 Elina Svitolina of the Ukraine also are eligible to compete.
The Olympic tennis schedule runs from July 24 to Aug. 1.
Allyson Felix makes fifth Olympic team
Nine-time Olympic medalist Allyson Felix claimed a spot on the Team USA track team for the fifth time through the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials. The trials ran from June 18-27 in Eugene, Ore.
Summer Games track and field competitions run from July 30 to Aug. 8. Nearly 70 athletes have qualified to represent Team USA at track and field events in Tokyo.
Felix, 35, took second place in the 400-meter event Sunday in Eugene to qualify for the Games. Quanera Hayes, 29, won the event. Third-place Wadeline Jonathas also qualified.
"I am proud of making it to this moment," Felix told reporters. "There has been so much that has gone into this, and there were many times where I didn't think I would get to this moment."
Michael Norman won the men's 400-meter race. Michael Cherry and Randolph Ross finished in second and third place, respectively, to clinch spots on Team USA.
Trayvon Bromell, who has the fastest time this year in the 100-meter race, finished first at the trials. Second-place Ronnie Baker and third-place Fred Kerley also qualified for Team USA.
Sha'Carri Richardson, Javianne Oliver and Teahna Daniels qualified through the women's 100-meter race Saturday in Eugene.
Ryan Crouser, Joe Kovacs and Payton Otterdahl qualified for the men's shot put Friday, the first day of the trials. Crouser set a world record with a 76-foot, 8 1/4-inch throw.
Woody Kincaid, Grant Fisher and Joe Klecker qualified Friday in the men's 10,000-meter race.
Valerie Allman and Rachel Dincoff qualified Saturday in the women's discus. Keni Harrison, Brianna McNeal and Christina Clemons qualified for the women's 100 hurdles. Garrett Scantling, Steven Bastien and Zach Ziemek qualified for the decathlon.
Keturah Orji, Tori Franklin and Jasmine Moore will represent Team USA in the women's triple jump. Vashti Cunningham will compete in the women's high jump. Rudy Winkler, Daniel Haugh and Alex Young will compete in the men's hammer throw.
Elise Cranny, Karissa Schweizer and Rachel Schneider clinched spots on Team USA's women's 5,000-meter team. Clayton Murphy, Isaiah Jewett and Bryce Hoppel qualified for the men's 800-meter race.
Elle Purrier St. Pierre, Cory McGee and Heather MacLean clinched spots for the women's 1,500-meter race. Will Claye, Donald Scott and Chris Benard qualified for the men's triple jump. Chris Nilsen, Sam Kendricks and K.C. Lightfoot made the men's pole vault team Monday in Eugene.
Katie Ledecky, Caeleb Dressel among top swimmers
Five-time Olympic gold medalist Katie Ledecky and Caeleb Dressel, a two-time gold medalist, were the top athletes to emerge out of the U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials, which took place from June 13 through Sunday in Omaha.
Ledecky will compete in four individual freestyle events in her third Olympic appearance in the swimming competition from July 24 to Aug. 1.
"I haven't been super excited about my times, but I'm super happy about the team that's coming together," Ledecky told NBC Sports on Saturday.
Twenty-three-time gold medalist Michael Phelps, 35, is retired from swimming and won't represent Team USA. He anchored the team in each of the last four Summer Games.
This year's team represents a youth movement, with 11 teenagers headed to Tokyo. Katie Grimes, 15, is the youngest swimmer on the 49-member team. The team has two 16-year-olds, a 17-year-old, two 18-year-olds and five 19-year-olds, in addition to Grimes.
Twenty-six women and 23 men clinched spots on Team USA. In perhaps one of the biggest shocks during the trials, six-time Olympic gold medalist Ryan Lochte failed to qualify.
Two-time Olympic gold medalist Lilly King and 2016 Summer Games silver medalist Chase Kalisz are among the top returnees.
Simone Biles stands on the floor after winning the gold medal in the floor exercise at the Olympic Arena of the Rio Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro on August 16, 2016. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo