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Dreaming of gold: Olympians with ties to NC competing in the Paris 2024 Olympics

North Carolina is well represented on the world stage at the Paris 2024 Summer Olympics — here are some locals to watch.

A view of Paris, France decked out with Paris 2024 Olympics signs and banners.

The Paris 2024 Olympics run from Friday, July 26 to Sunday, Aug. 11.

Erin McPherson, 6AM City

Light the torch and cue that iconic Olympics theme song — we’re ready for the Paris 2024 Summer Olympics happening Friday, July 26 to Sunday, Aug. 11.

At this summer’s Olympic Games, ~10,500 athletes from 206 National Olympic Committees will compete across 32 sports — including some new ones. Since we’re all about keeping it local, we’ve rounded up 10 Paris 2024 Olympians with ties to NC that you should keep your eye on. Let the games begin.

Evy Leibfarth, women’s canoe slalom; women’s kayak slalom; women’s kayak cross
The Bryson City native is the first American woman to qualify for three different canoe and kayak events in the Olympics. But Leibfarth isn’t a stranger to records and accolades — at just 15 years old, she became the youngest World Cup medalist. Leibfarth’s journey to Paris will be her second Olympic Games, after competing in the kayak slalom and canoe slalom in Tokyo in 2020. See the schedule of Leibfarth’s events.

Olympian Evy Leibfarth at the 2019 Canoe Slalom World Championships in La Seu d’Urgell, Spain.

Photo by Antoine Lamielle

Ethan Ramos, wrestling
The first Tar Heel wrestler to qualify for the Olympics will hit the mat representing Puerto Rico. Ramos has served as Duke University’s assistant wrestling coach since the 2021-2022 season. Men’s wrestling begins Monday, Aug. 5.

Cierra Burdick, 3x3 women’s basketball
The Charlotte native began playing basketball in a community league at the Harris YMCA and has since played on eight WNBA teams and internationally for seven countries. The 3x3 women’s basketball games begin Tuesday, July 30.

Seth Rider, triathlon
One of the five triathletes representing Team USA, Rider was a member of Queens University of Charlotte’s triathlon team. He got inspired to begin the sport after watching his dad complete triathlons, and he made it to the Youth Olympic Games in 2014. The men’s triathlon begins Tuesday, July 30.

Ashley Hoffman, field hockey
The field hockey team’s co-captain graduated from UNC Chapel Hill in 2021. Team USA’s field hockey players practice at UNC Charlotte on an exact replica of the field the team will compete on in Paris. Field hockey will start on Saturday, July 27.

Naya Tapper, women’s rugby
The UNC Chapel Hill grad plays the wing position. It’s her second Olympic Games after helping Team USA earn sixth place in the Tokyo 2020 Games. Women’s rugby kicks off on Sunday, July 28.

Sammy Sullivan, women’s rugby
A newcomer to Team USA, the Fayetteville native plays the prop position. In 2022, she helped the US earn fourth place in the 2022 Rugby World Cup Sevens in Cape Town.

Emily Fox, women’s soccer
The UNC Chapel Hill alum is going to the Olympics for the first time. But it’s no surprise after her NC Courage season racking up all sorts of personal bests and earning a nomination for US Soccer Female Player of the Year. Women’s soccer starts on Thursday, July 25.

Casey Murphy, women’s soccer
The goalkeeper for NC Courage (where she played every minute of the 2024 season) is taking her first trip to the Olympics as one of the 18-person roster. Murphy was also a member of the 2023 Women’s World Cup roster.

Anna Cockrell, women’s 400m hurdles
After placing second in the 400m hurdles in the Olympic trials, the Charlotte native is heading to Paris. She will compete in her second Olympic Games after placing eighth in her event in Tokyo in 2020. Track and field starts Thursday, Aug. 1.

Lily Williams, women’s track cycling
While the cyclist is now based in Europe, she’s a former Ashevillian, so we had to give her a spot on our list. Williams earned a bronze medal in Tokyo and a World Champion title in 2020. Women’s track cycling begins Monday, Aug. 5.

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