Black Tennessee Athletes Ready to Compete in Tokyo Olympics

By Mike Patton

NASHVILLE, TN — Every four years, the Olympics takes place and plenty of faces we don’t see regularly take the main stage. Track and Field is one of those sports that tends to take the main stage in the Summer Olympics and births Black track stars over the years like Michael Johnson and the Allyson Felix. Three Tennesseans head to this year’s Olympics in Tokyo to hopefully make their star shine brighter this year and not only represent for them, but for their families.

Alex Young
The former Lavergne High school and Southeastern Louisiana track athlete once watched the 2008 Olympics in Beijing and was inspired. He would start throwing events in track and field not long after, starting with the shotput. He would win state in it, but it was when he joined a Nashville-area travel team that he first got an interest in the hammer throw. From there, he learned and practiced on it, perfecting his craft through college, leading up to him qualifying for the Olympics in June for the hammer throw.

Erica Bougard
The Memphis native and is very versatile, being able to jump hurdles, run sprints and even throw the shotput in this year’s Olympics, the former Mississippi State Bulldog will be competing in the Heptathlon, which contains three running events (200 meters, 800 meters and 100 meter hurdles), two throwing events (Shotput and the javelin) and two jumping events (long jump and high jump). Her shot at trying to win gold starts on August 4.

Kendra “Keni” Harrison
The Tennessee-born hurdler barely missed making the Olympics back in 2016. It was disappointing to her, but she used that as motivation to get better. Harrison would win the 60 meter hurdles in 2018 and place second in the 100 meter hurdles in the 2019 World Championships before making sure to make this year’s team for Tokyo. The University of Kentucky standout will be representing the United States in the 100 meter hurdles.