Olympic athletes with Iowa ties go for gold

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The Tokyo Olympics start on Friday and there's a crew of athletes with Iowa ties to root for.

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Why it matters: You can't help but feel some pride when you see athletes from your home state competing at their highest level.

Here are just three of the many local athletes we'll be watching compete for Team USA:

Karissa Schweizer

Karissa Schweizer competes in the Women's 5,000-meter final at Hayward Field on June 21 in Eugene, Oregon. Photo: Andy Lyons/Getty Images

A 25-year-old from Urbandale, Karissa Schweizer is competing in the women's track and field 5,000- and 10,000-meter races.

Her story: The running superstar, who graduated from Dowling High School and the University of Missouri, flew under the radar early in her career, the Register reports.

  • She caught Mizzou's attention only after her father introduced himself to the college's track and field coach during a happenstance at a Subway restaurant.

  • Once she joined the Tigers, she won multiple NCAA championship titles and was named the school's most-decorated female athlete.

Thomas Gilman

Thomas Gilman of Iowa during a 125lb consolation match on March 18, 2017 in St. Louis, Missouri. Photo: Mark Buckner/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

Cedar Rapids native and University of Iowa graduate Thomas Gilman will compete in the men's wrestling 57kg (125 lb) category.

His story: Olympic dreams were always on the 27-year-old's mind, even when he was just 5 years old, KETV reports. While other kids were listing nurse or firefighter as their career aspirations, Gilman wanted Olympic gold — and wrestling was the way he was going to achieve it.

  • Gilman wrestled in high school and went on to compete for the Hawkeyes — winning the Big Ten Championship and silver in the 2017 World Championship.

Hillary Bor

Hillary Bor celebrates after the Men's 3000 Meters Steeplechase Final at Hayward Field on June 25, 2021 in Eugene, Oregon. Photo: Steph Chambers/Getty Images

Hillary Bor, a 31-year-old runner who was born in Kenya and graduated from Iowa State, is competing in the men's 3,000-meter steeplechase for the second time.

His story: Bor says steeplechase — a 3,000-meter run that involves barriers, hurdles and a water pit — caught his eye in high school, the Oregonian reports.

  • Following his track dreams, he moved to the U.S. and attended Iowa State, where he competed on a scholarship.

  • After graduating, he went on to pursue his master's degree and later joined the military, eventually earning U.S. citizenship.

Go deeper: Find a full list of Olympians with Iowa ties here. Check the schedule for all the info you need on how to watch your favorites.

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