As the Olympics in Rio come to a close, athletes for Team USA - both native and foreign born - have represented the red, white, and blue. The US sent 555 athletes to the Olympic Games in 27 sports. Forty-seven of Team USA’s competitors were born outside the United States!
Notable immigrant athletes on Team USA included:
- Danell Leyva (gymnastics) was born in Cuba and defected to Miami, Florida with his mom and sister when he was only two years old. Danell won two silver medals at the Rio Olympics on the men’s parallel bars and the men’s horizontal bar.
- Meb Keflezighi (track and field) is one of the most decorated US marathoners of all time. Born in Eritrea, he moved to the US at the age of 11. In 2014 he won the Boston Marathon becoming the first American to do so since 1983. Meb will run in the men’s marathon on Sunday, August 21, becoming the oldest US Olympic runner of all time.
- Nick Delpopolo (judo) was born in Serbia and Montenegro; he spent the first few years of his life in an orphanage until he was adopted by a couple from New Jersey.
- Paul Kipkemoi Chelimo (track and field) was born in Kenya, but became a US citizen after enlisting in the US Army and being a part of the World Class Athlete Program. Paul, along with two other foreign-born US athletes, Bernard Lagat and Hassan Mead, will run in the men’s 500m final on Saturday, August 20.
- Kyrie Irving (basketball) was born in Melbourne, Australia while his father pursued a professional career in an Aussie league. He holds dual citizenship and was asked to play on the Australian national team, but chose to play for Team USA.
Congratulations to all the athletes on Team USA and too all the Olympians!