As you may know by now, this years 2016 Summer Olympics will be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. What you may not know is that Rio is roughly over 6,000 miles away from the Inland Empire.
A handful of IE natives took the 16-hour plane ride to South America after earning a spot on Team USA for this years summer games.
Before they bring home the gold, let’s take a moment to meet our So Cal representatives:
Diana Taurasi (Chino, CA)
Taurasi is a three-time Olympian (2004, 2008, 2012) and a three-time gold medalist. She attended the University of Connecticut in ’04 before being drafted to the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury. Taurasi attended Don Antonio Lugo High School and graduated in 2000.
Sarah Hammer (Temecula, CA)
Hammer was born and raised in Temecula and will be headed to her third straight Olympics. After competing in the 2008 & 2012 games, she took home 2 silver medals, one of which broke a 12-year U.S. track cycling medal drought. Hammer attended Chaparral High School and Palomar College.
Rickie Fowler (Murrieta, CA)
Making his Olympic debut, Fowler will show that he is arguably one of the best golfers in the world. The Murrieta Valley High School graduate was named the 2010 PGA Tour Rookie of the Year and most recently won the 2016 Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.
Track & Field
Whitney Ashley (Riverside, CA)
The 26-year old attended John W. North High School in Riverside and qualified for her first Olympic games this summer. Ashley also won the 2012 NCAA discus title while attending San Diego State University, becoming the first athlete to win the title since 1985.
Chris Benard (Corona, CA)
Benard adds to the list of first time Olympians, as he’ll be competing in the triple jump. After winning the state title and setting the school record in triple jump at Santiago High School, Benard went on to graduate from Arizona State University.
Chaunté Lowe (Riverside, CA)
Lowe is a three-time Olympian (2004, 2008, 2012) and will compete in the high jump this summer. She’s is an alumni of John W. North High School and a graduate of Georgia Tech University. She also set an American record in the high jump only 10 months after giving birth her to youngest daughter.
Brenda Martinez (Big Bear Lake, CA)
The 2016 Rio games will be the first for Martinez, as she looks to run for gold in the 1,500-meter. She attended Rancho Cucamonga High School and the University of California, Riverside, where she was a three-time NCAA All-American.
Taylor Sander (Corona, CA)
This will be the first Olympic games for the Norco High School and BYU alumn. Sander is a four-time AVCA All-American, three-time first team and he helped the U.S. Men win the 2015 FIVB World Cup and qualify for the 2016 Olympic Games.