Water polo player Ashleigh Johnson earned MVP honors for the FINA World Championship gold medal final in 2015.
A former junior and youth open champion, Carlos Balderas became the first boxer to claim his spot on the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team. He won in the World Series of Boxing, garnering enough points over months of fighting to qualify for the team and exempt him from the U.S. Olympic Team Trials.
Tamika Catchings made her Team USA debut in 1996 as a member of the women’s junior national team (now called the U18 team) in the Junior World Championship Qualifying Tournament, and has become a key member of the U.S. squad since. She is one of 10 women in USA Basketball history to play in three or more Olympic Games. She is one of nine players to have earned a FIBA World Championship gold medal, Olympic gold medal, NCAA title and WNBA crown.
Jake Dalton is a three-time U.S. floor exercise (2011-12, 2014) and vault (2009, 2011-12) champion, and his international accolades include: 2014 world team and vault bronze medalist; 2013 world floor exercise silver medalist; 2013 American Cup champion; and 2011 world team bronze medalist. The 2012 Olympian missed the 2015 P&G Championships due to a shoulder injury, which has been surgically repaired.
John Orozco is a member of the 2016 Men's US artistic gymnastics national team. He was the 2014 Glasgow World Cup all-around bronze medalist, a 2014 world team bronze medalist, a 2014 U.S. high bar champion and all-around silver medalist, and the 2014 Pacific Rim team, all-around, parallel bars & high bar champion, and floor exercise & still rings silver medalist.
On August 29, 2015, Ashton Eaton broke his own world record in the decathlon. He is married to Canadian Olympian and 2013 World pentathlon silver medalist Brianne Theisen-Eaton.
Rower Blake Haxton lost his legs as a senior in high school after contracting necrotizing fasciitis, which nearly cost him his life. After recovering, he returned to the sport and is now a member of the U.S. National Team for paralympic rowing.
Lex Gillette, a long jumper who is visually impaired, defended his world title in the event at October’s world championships and still owns the T11 world record in the event at 6.73m. He also won gold at the Parapan American Games and U.S. Paralympics Track and Field National Championships. He is a three-time Paralympic silver medalist.
In 2006, Alise Post became the first woman ever voted Rookie Pro of the Year by BMXer Magazine, as well as the youngest to win the American Bicycle Association national title, at age 15. Since then, she has become the most decorated female in U.S. BMX history. She has attended five world championships, earning top three finishes in three. She has also been crowned national champion five consecutive years, and has had nine top-three finishes in UCI Supercross World Cup racing.
The top-ranked American female according to ITTF world rankings, table tennis player Lily Zhang will look to make her return to the U.S. Olympic Team in 2016 after competing in both the women’s singles and team events at the London 2012 Games. Zhang carries a gold-medal team performance at the 2015 Pan American Games and a gold-medal singles performance at the North American Championships. She also represented Team USA at the 2014 Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China, where she earned the women’s singles bronze medal.
Norik Vardanian competed at the 2012 Olympic Games for Armenia. He is a resident athlete at the Colorado Springs Olympic Training Center and recently set American records for the snatch and total in the 94 kg. division. Photographed at the 2016 Team USA Media Summit on March 6-9 at The Beverly Hilton hotel in Los Angeles.
Credit: Leslye Davis/ The New York Times