Illinois Olympians Competing in Rio

By: Jonathan Jones 07/30/2016

Rio-2016-LogoJohn Williams’ Olympic Fanfare is playing on repeat on my IPhone as the best Illinois Olympians head to Brazil.

You know what that means my fellow Lake Countians. The Olympics are beginning this weekend. Unfortunately, Chicago didn’t get the games like it was supposed to (which would’ve been awesome for Lake County).

That’s still not going to stop me or any of us from watching the games in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.

There are a slew of Illinois Olympians. There are even two Lake County Olympians!

Here is a rundown of your Illinois Olympians competing in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio, so you can help cheer on your fellow Land of Lincolners go for the Gold.

[caption id="attachment_6022" align="alignright" width="190"]34th FIG Rhythmic Gymnastics World Championships Stuttgart (GER)), 7-13 September 2015 Laura Zeng[/caption]

Illinois Olympians

Name: Laura Zeng Illinois Residency: Libertyville Events: Rhythmic Individual Gymnastics Fun Fact: Zeng, who trains in North Shore Rhythmic Gymnastics Center in Highland Park, ranks eighth overall. She also is apart of the first six-person team to represent the U.S. in the Olympics.

Name: Daniel Dennis Residency: Ingleside Events: Wrestling

[caption id="attachment_6027" align="alignright" width="288"]Daniel Dennis Daniel Dennis[/caption]

Fun Fact: Dennis dropped out of the sport in 2013 and moved to California. In California, he lived out of a van with no TV or internet and returned home in 2015 where qualified for the U.S. team.

Name: Kristen Shaldybin

[caption id="attachment_6025" align="alignright" width="300"]Kristen Shaldybin Kristen Shaldybin[/caption]

Illinois Residency: Graduated high school at Highland Park Events: Rhythmic Gymnastics Fun Fact: Shaldybin placed 13th overall at the 2015  World Championships also received the gold and silver in the 2015 Pan American Games. Shaldybin and Zeng are teammates.

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="311"] Elena Delle Donne[/caption]

Name: Elena Delle Donne Illinois Residency: Chicago Events: Basketball Fun Fact: In her rookie season on the Chicago Sky, Delle Donne led all players in All-Star votes - the first time this has been done. Del Donne was also awarded the 2013 Roopkie of the year. Last season, Delle Donne was named MVP in the WNBA posting 23.4 points per game, shooting 95 percent from the field and was third in the league in rebounding.

[caption id="attachment_6024" align="alignright" width="300"]Jimmy Butler Jimmy Butler[/caption]

Name: Jimmy Butler Illinois Residency: Chicago Events: Basketball Fun Fact: Jimmy Buckets is a member or the Chicago Bulls. Although originating from Houston, TX, he has had much success in the Windy City including making the All-Star Team in 2015, 2016 and winning Most Improved Player in 2015.

Name: Kevin Cordes Illinois Residency: Naperville Events: Swimming: 100-meter Breaststroke Fun Fact: To qualifify Cordes won first overall in the breast and took second in the 200 Meter Breaststorke. He majored in Physiology at University of Arizona.

[caption id="attachment_6023" align="alignright" width="300"]Conor Dwyer Conor Dwyer[/caption]

Name: Conor Dwyer Illinois Residency: Winnetka Events: Swimming: 4x200 Meter Freestyle, 200-Meter Freestyle and 400-Meter Freestyle Fun Fact: Dwyer took home a gold medal as a piece of the 4x200-Meter Freestyle Relay team in the 2012 Olympics in London, England. Dwyer graduated from Loyola Academy in Wilmette.

Name: Olivia Smolgia Illinois Residency: Glenview Events: Swimming: 100-Meter Backstroke Fun Fact: When I worked for 22nd Century

[caption id="attachment_6020" align="alignright" width="200"]Olivia Smoliga Olivia Smoliga[/caption]

Media, I covered Smoliga in the IHSA State Tournament. She won state championships in 100-Yard Freestyle (48.92) and 50-Yard Freestyle (22.55). In 2016, she posted a new IHSA Record at 21.99 winning again in the 50 and registered a new IHSA Record in the 100-Yard Backstroke with 51.43. In 2016 she also won state titles in two other relays.

Name: Kiana Eide Illinois Residency: Northbrook Events: Rhymitc Gymnastics Fun Fact: Also a member of the Rhythmic team with Zeng and Shaldybin.

Name: Morolake Akinosun Illinois Residency: Aurora Events: Track & Field: 4x100M Fun Fact: A Waubonsie Valley graduate that now runs at University of Texas. She transferred initially from Uoniversity of

[caption id="attachment_6021" align="alignright" width="300"]Morolake Akinosun Morolake Akinosun[/caption]

Illinois: Urbana-Champaign. Akinosun is also a two-time NCAA Champ in the 4x400 Meter and the second woman in history to score in four events at an NCAA Outdoor Championship in consecutive seasons.

Name: Ben Kanute Illinois Residency: Geneva Events: U.S. Triathlon Team Fun Fact: Kanute is an all-state swimmer and cross-country runner who has also been a competing in triathlons since he was eight years old.

[caption id="attachment_6026" align="alignright" width="300"]Tom Jaeschke Tom Jaeschke[/caption]

Name: Tom Jaeschke Illinois Residency: Wheaton Events: Volleyball Fun Fact: Jaeschke is a strong addition to the USA Olympic Volleyball Team. As an outside hitter, he not only helped Wheaton Warrenville win an undefeated IHSA Championship, but he also assisted Loyoola for titles in the 2014 and 2015 NCAA Men’s DI-II National Championships.

Name: Kelsey Robinson Illinois Residency: Bartlett Events: Indoor Volleyball Fun Fact: Robinson has a long list of accolades she has racked up over the years. She was named Second Best Outside Spiker for 2015 FIVB World Grand Prix after leading the Finals in receiving with 80.5 percent efficiency.

Name: Monica Rokhman Illinois Residency: Northbrook Events: Rhythmic Gymnastics Fun Fact: Another member of the team that practices out of Highland Park.

Name: Zach Ziemek Illinois Residency: Itasca Events: Decathlon Fun Fact: Probably one of the strongest athletes on the USA Team, this Lake Park Grad finished third in Olympic trials.

Outside of Chicagoland area Olympians: Lauren Doyle of Boody: USA Rugby, Kelly Murphy of Wilmington: Indoor Volleyball, Haley Augello of Lockport: Wrestling, Kelsey Card of Carlinville: Discus throw and Evan Jager of Algonquin: Track & Field - 3000-Meter Steeplechase .

Illinois Olympians: Go for the Gold! Continue here to find out more about our Olympians in the Land of Lincoln. Let's Go Lake County!

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