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Illinois Olympians Competing in Rio

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.

34th FIG Rhythmic Gymnastics World Championships Stuttgart (GER)), 7-13 September 2015

Laura Zeng

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

Daniel Dennis

Daniel Dennis

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

Kristen Shaldybin

Kristen Shaldybin

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.

Elena Delle Donne

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.

Jimmy Butler

Jimmy Butler

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.

Conor Dwyer

Conor Dwyer

Name: Conor Dwyer
Illinois Residency: Winnetka
Events: Swimming: 4×200 Meter Freestyle, 200-Meter Freestyle and 400-Meter Freestyle
Fun Fact: Dwyer took home a gold medal as a piece of the 4×200-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

Olivia Smoliga

Olivia Smoliga

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

Morolake Akinosun

Morolake Akinosun

Illinois: Urbana-Champaign. Akinosun is also a two-time NCAA Champ in the 4×400 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.

Tom Jaeschke

Tom Jaeschke

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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