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You’ll Want To Keep An Eye On These Black Gen Z Athletes At The Summer 2024 Olympics

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Every four years, my favorite athletic event takes place: The Olympic Games. The 2024 Olympics will be held in Paris from July 26 to Aug. 11. Since I can remember, it has been a tradition in my family to watch the Olympics in all its glory whenever we can catch it on TV. It was always fascinating to witness various star athletes from around the world perform on the world stage, so it’s no surprise that the Summer Olympics are my personal fave. 

For me, seeing Black athletes perform every four years was one of the best representations I would see as a child. Many of the athletes I saw on TV were my largest source of inspiration growing up, especially while I was part of track and field in high school. I used to watch many athletic events to help improve my skill set. As each Olympics passed, the number of athletes I came to admire grew, and now, I’m looking forward to the next generation of Black athletes who are currently preparing to compete in the 2024 Olympics. 

1. Noah Lyles

Noah Lyles, a track and field athlete, leads the list of Black athletes you should be familiar with by the time the 2024 Paris Olympics roll around. Lyles, at only 26 years old, is already an Olympic medalist, having won bronze in the men’s 200m race at the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics. Lyles also holds six world titles and four Diamond League Final trophies

Lyles specializes in the 100m and 200m sprint dashes, but he said in an interview with L’Equipe that he is now seeking to compete in the 4 x 400m relay following his big success at the 2023 World Athletics Championships, where he won gold in the 100m, 200m, and 4x100m relay. 

Lyles is known for his enthusiastic and entertaining personality on the track, so don’t miss him this Olympic season!

2. Simone Biles

Who hasn’t heard of Simone Biles — the inspirational and most decorated gymnast in the world? Biles is undoubtedly one of the most anticipated competitors heading to the 2024 Paris Games. Biles made her Olympic debut in Rio in 2016, winning gold medals in the all-around, team, vault, and floor exercises, as well as bronze on the balancing beam. All eyes were on her for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, but she had to courageously withdraw from the women’s team final and four consecutive individual finals to prioritize her health. However, she did return for the balance beam routine and won bronze at the games. 

Biles is an inspiration to many athletes, especially after the 2020 Olympics, when she spoke out as an advocate for mental health, particularly among athletes. Biles has since astounded fans and judges, winning 30 World Championship medals, 23 of which were gold, four of which were silver, and three of which were bronze, not to mention her seven Olympic titles. Biles is undoubtedly one of the most anticipated athletes for this year’s event. 

3. Jordan Chiles

Jordan Chiles is a Gen Z icon who rose to prominence during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics after she was selected to join the United States gymnastics team. Chiles won an Olympic silver medal in the team event and three medals at the 2022 World Championships, including gold for the team and silver for the vault and floor.

Chiles is no stranger to the sport, having started practicing gymnastics in 2007 after her parents noticed how active she was. Chile’s main purpose is to improve the culture of gymnastics by encouraging people to have fun and enjoy the sport. Her first name, Jordan, pays homage to her athletic excellence, as her mother named her after NBA player Michael Jordan

4. Sydney McLaughlin- Levrone

Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone, known professionally as Syndey McLaughlin, is a sprinter and hurdler who specializes in the 400m hurdles. Every time she steps on the track, you can expect a spectacular match, such as during the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games when she upset talented competitor Dalilah Muhammed and set a world record time of 51.46 seconds in the 400m hurdles to earn gold. She eventually surpassed her own mark in 2022, running 50.68 seconds at the USATF Championships

5. Simone Manuel

Simone Manuel is a freestyle swimming specialist. She became the first Black woman to win a gold medal in an individual swimming event during her Olympic debut at the Rio Games in 2016. She also won gold in the Women’s 4x100m medley, silver in the individual 50m freestyle, and silver in the Women’s 4x100m freestyle relay. Manuel has been very outspoken about racism and inclusion in her sport, and in 2020, she founded the women’s media brand, Togethxr, with fellow gold medalists Alex Morgan, Chloe Kim, and Sue Bird. 

6. Erriyon Knighton

At just 17, Erriyon Knighton, became the youngest men’s track finalist in modern Olympic history, finishing fourth at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Knighton started out in a completely different sport. In high school, he was a football wide receiver before his coach suggested he pursue track and field.

Knighton officially went pro in 2021, signing with Adidas and becoming a World Championships silver and bronze medalist, as well as a three-time Diamond League meeting winner. 

7. Coco Gauff

Coco Guaff is another rising star in athletics who’s already establishing herself as a future legend. Gauff made news when she won the Grand Slam singles title at the 2023 U.S. Open, making her the youngest American to do it since tennis icon Serena Williams in 1999.

Guaff is now headed to the 2024 Paris Olympics, which will be her first Olympic Games after being unable to compete in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics due to a positive COVID-19 result. Guaff wishes to qualify for and win gold in the singles, women’s doubles, and mixed doubles categories, and given her talent on the court, I’m confident that goal could be achieved.

Siobhan Robinson is a member of the Her Campus national writing program. She works on the entertainment and culture team, covering the most recent pop culture events, trends, and entertainment releases. Previously, she worked as an Entertainment and Culture intern during the Spring 2023 semester, where she was supervised in writing breaking news verticals, live coverage of events such as the Grammys and Met Gala, and interviewing emerging Gen Z talent for Her Campus's "Next Questions" segment. She is currently a fourth-year communication studies student at San Jose State University. She is also a member of the SJSU chapter of Her Campus, where she presently serves as Editor-In-Chief, supervising a staff of writers, senior editors, and copy editors and assessing their articles for the site. She previously worked as a senior editor for the chapter and assisted in editing the work of a team of 4-5 writers. In her free time, Siobhan enjoys scrapbooking, hanging out with her friends, going to concerts, and, of course, writing for fun! She's a die-hard fangirl who will tell you everything she knows about her favorite boybands even if you don't ask.