As the old saying goes, age is just a number. And that certainly bears true for some of the athletes representing the United States at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
While there are some young budding Olympic stars who are heading to their first Olympic Games, there are still the veterans who are competing to add to their Olympic legacy. Here are some of the oldest U.S. athletes competing in Tokyo this summer.
The 35-year-old member of the United States women’s national soccer team will be competing in her third Olympic Games. She helped the women’s team win gold at the 2012 London Olympics, finishing the tournament with three goals and four assists. Rapinoe spent the 2016 Rio Olympics on the bench, as she was recovering from right knee surgery. The star midfielder and the U.S. team will try to avenge their 2016 quarterfinals loss to Sweden and get back on the podium.
There’s no stopping Allyson Felix. The track and field star will be competing in her fifth Olympic Games, where she can make U.S. Olympic history by tying or breaking Carl Lewis’ record for the most medals won by an American track and field athlete (10). The 35-year-old became the most decorated American woman in track and field history in 2016, winning gold in the 4x100m relay and 4x400m relay, along with a silver in the 400m dash. Felix has nine medals, six of them being gold, and she will look to build on that total as she competes in the 400m race and the 4x400m relay team.
With the return of softball to the Olympics also comes the return of U.S. softball pitcher Cat Osterman. She competed for the U.S. at the 2004 Athens Olympics and 2008 Beijing Olympics, the last time that softball was featured before its return this year. After the 2008 Games, Osterman announced she would be retiring from the sport. However, with softball making an appearance again at the Olympics, she said in 2018 she would be returning. A standout from the University of Texas, Osterman is one of just two players on the U.S. softball team with Olympic experience and is the oldest of the group. At 36 years old, she will be competing for her third medal after winning gold in 2004 and silver in 2008.
The most decorated fencer in U.S. history will be appearing in her fifth Olympic Games when she heads to Tokyo this summer. Mariel Zagunis is already a four-time Olympic medalist, with two bronze and two gold medals. She won gold in her individual event in 2004 and 2008, and she won bronze as part of the team fencing events in 2008 and 2016. Zagunis was honored as the Olympic flag bearer at the 2012 Olympics. At 36 years old, she is looking for a better finish than what she had in 2016, where she was eliminated in the Round of 16.
Carli Lloyd is the oldest member of the USWNT who will be heading to Tokyo. It will be the fourth Olympic Games for Lloyd, who holds two Olympic gold medals from wins in 2008 and 2012. When it comes to the Olympics, Lloyd has a flair for the dramatic. The midfielder, who turned 39 earlier this month, scored the game-winning goal in the gold medal match against Brazil in 2008 and scored both goals in the United States’ 2-1 win over Japan in the 2012 gold medal game.
One of the greats in women’s basketball will be making her fifth Olympic appearance. Diana Taurasi is a four-time gold medalist, and one of a select few players who have earned an Olympic gold medal, world championship, WNBA title and NCAA title. The 39-year-old guard, who plays for the Phoenix Mercury of the WNBA, owns the single-game U.S. Olympic record for most 3-point field goals made (8), which she accomplished in 2004, 2008 and 2012.
The other veteran selected to the U.S. women’s basketball team, Sue Bird also will be competing in her fifth Olympics. Like Taurasi, she is a four-time gold medalist. At 40 years old, the guard who plays for the WNBA’s Seattle Storm will look to lead Team USA to its fifth consecutive gold medal.
Bird was already front and center for Team USA before her team even played. She and Eddy Alvarez, were flag bearers for the U.S. at the Opening Ceremony.
The oldest runner ever to make the U.S. Olympic track and field team, 44-year-old Abdi Abdirahman is heading to his fifth Olympic Games. He finished third in the U.S. Olympic trials in the marathon. He missed the 2016 Olympics, but is back for the 2020 Games as he eyes his first-ever Olympic medal.
U.S. Beach Volleyball
There are eight members of the U.S. Olympic beach volleyball men’s and women’s team, and five of the eight are over 30 years of age. Currently ranked No. 2 in the world for women is the pairing of Alix Klineman and April Ross. While Klineman is only 31, Ross is 39 years old and competing in her third Olympics. She previously won a silver medal in 2012 and a bronze in 2016.
On the men’s side, there is Jake Gibb, who will be the oldest Olympic beach volleyball player in history, as he heads to his fourth Olympic Games at the fine age of 45. He is paired with 29-year-old Taylor Crabb. The other men’s pairing is Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena, a duo of 41-year-olds. The two competed together in 2016, finishing fifth in the event. This is Dalhausser’s fourth Olympics; he previously won gold in 2008 with Todd Rogers.
U.S. Equestrian Team
The equestrian team is filled with older athletes. The three members of the U.S. Eventing Olympic Team competing in the equestrian event, along with the lone reserve, all head to Tokyo over the age of 40. Leading the way is 57-year old Phillip Dutton, who is competing in his seventh Olympic Games and is a two-time gold medalist. This will be the third Olympics for Boyd Martin, who is 41 years old. It will be the first Olympics for 39-year-old Doug Payne and 46-year-old Tamra Smith.
On the U.S. Jumping Team, three of the four members are at least 40 years old. The team is made up of 40-year-old Kent Farrington, 55-year-old Jessica Kraut and 45-year-old McLain Ward. This will be Farrington’s second Olympics, the third for 2008 gold medalist Kraut and the fifth for two-time gold and one-time silver medalist Ward.
For the U.S. Dressage Team, they are led by a pair of veterans in Steffen Peters and Sabine Schut-Kery. This will be the fifth Olympics for Peter, who previously won a bronze in 1996 and 2016, and the first Games for Schut-Kery.