UofL Olympians 2020
Top left: Jordan Nwora, Grigory Tarasevich, Tatiana Salcutan, Andrej Barna, Matt Hughes Bottom left: Ben Williams, Marcelo Acosta, Ayeisha McFerran, Zach Harting, Merissah Russell

The University of Louisville has a storied history of lightning-in-a-bottle athletes.

Lamar Jackson and Teddy Bridgewater come to mind. Angel McCoughtry. Lenny Lyles. Darrell “Dr. Dunkenstein” Griffith. Asia Durr. Will Smith.

Unseld. Siva. Tyra. Beard. Ellison. Bridgeman. Mitchell. McKay.

The list goes on and on and on.

As a matter of fact, just this month Cardinal Catcher Henry Davis was selected as the No. 1 draft pick for Major League Baseball, solidifying UofL’s standing as the first program to have players selected as the top overall pick in the MLB, NBA, WNBA and MLS drafts. 

Our story hardly ends with the major leagues, however. We also have quite a legacy of Olympic athletes. During the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, UofL boasted 12 Olympians who represented 10 countries, for example. Among them – McCoughtry and swimmer Kelsi (Worrell) Dahlia, who both earned gold medals.

UofL will once again have a strong showing on the world’s biggest athletics stage starting next week in Tokyo. Below is a list of former and current (and one incoming) athletes who will represent their respective countries – including the (Cardinal) red, white and blue – at the Tokyo Games.

Sophomore Guard Merissah Russell, UofL Women’s Basketball, has been named to Canada’s women’s basketball team.

Former Cardinal forward Jordan Nwora will represent Nigeria in men’s basketball.

Former UofL Field Hockey standout Ayeisha McFerran was named to the Irish National Team’s 16-player roster for the Tokyo Olympic Games, becoming the first UofL field hockey player in history to earn a spot at the Olympics.

Former UofL Track star Ben Williams has secured a spot on the British team for the triple jump, while alum Matt Hughes will compete for Canada in the steeplechase. 

UofL will also have a major presence in the pool at the Olympics. Former UofL Swimmer Zach Harting will compete in the 200 butterfly for the U.S., while alums Andrej Barna will represent Serbia, Grigory Tarasevich will represent Russia and Marcelo Acosta will represent El Salvador.

UofL’s Olympics swimming presence extends to current and future Cardinals as well. Current UofL Swimmer Tatiana Salcutan will compete for the Republic of Moldova, while Murilo Sartori will compete for Brazil in Tokyo and has committed to swim for the Cardinals program beginning this fall.

To read more about these athletes and their UofL careers, check out GoCards.com.

The 2020 Tokyo Olympics (as they’re still branded) will take place from July 23 through Aug. 8. We’ll be tuning in with our Ls up. 

Alicia Kelso
Alicia Kelso is the director of social media and digital content. She joined UofL in 2015 as director of communications at the Brandeis School of Law. She also serves as a senior contributor at Forbes.com, writing about the restaurant industry, which she has covered since 2010. Her work has been featured in publications around the world, including NPR, Bloomberg, The Seattle Times, Good Morning America and Franchise Asia Magazine.