It is almost time for the highly anticipated Tokyo Olympics. After being postponed due to COVID-19, the Olympics is finally set to start on July 23, 2021. The biggest stage in sports is set and everyone around the world is eagerly awaiting the lighting of the Olympic torch. This year it will signify more than just the start of an exciting Olympic Games filled with fierce competition, but also a reminder of how far the world has come.
These athletes have dealt with circumstances that previous years’ competitors never had to face. Despite all of this, they have made it to compete at the highest level of their sport. Viewers around the world will once again get to witness the greatest athletes vie for the coveted Olympic medals while representing their countries.
Among these athletes are proud Hokies. Virginia Tech is known as a school that produces “greats” in everything, including athletics, and this year Tech will be represented in Tokyo in coaching staffs, track and field, swimming and golf.
Two coaches from Virginia Tech will be leading swimming and diving teams in competition. The current assistant coach and men’s recruiting coordinator for Virginia Tech Swimming & Diving, Albert Subirats, will serve as an assistant swimming coach for Iceland.
Hokies’ head coach Sergio Lopez Miro is heading to his sixth Olympics as the assistant coach for Singapore. This will be the 1988 bronze medalist’s fourth time coaching in the Olympics. Lopez Miro has been the coach for Virginia Tech since the spring of 2018.
Two current Hokies will be competing in the swimming competitions in Tokyo. Antani Ivanov, a rising senior, will represent Bulgaria in the 100 and 200 fly. Ivanov placed third at the 2021 NCAAs for the 200 fly. He also holds the Bulgarian national record in the 50m, 100m and 200m fly and the 200m free.
Rising sophomore Youssef Ramadan will travel with his teammate to compete in the 100 fly for Egypt. Ramadan received the honor of being named the ACC Male Freshman of the Year in 2021 and All-American for the 50 free. Ramadan placed first in the 2021 ACCs for the 100 fly with a time of 44.32.
Former Hokie Ian Ho will swim for Hong Kong in the 50m freestyle event. Ho, who was a member of the Virginia Tech Swimming & Diving Team from 2015 to 2019, holds high accolades in this event, as he is the first man from Hong Kong to ever reach the under-22-second threshold for the 50m. The Tech graduate is a hometown favorite as well, coming from Blacksburg, Virginia.
Track and Field
Virginia Tech signee Barbora Malíková will compete in the 400m for the Czech Republic. The 19-year-old blew away the competition and won the Czech National Championship in the 400m to punch her ticket to Tokyo. Malíková delivered a time of just 51.23 seconds at the event.
Hokie alum Marcel Lomnický, who attended Tech from 2008 to 2012, will compete in the Hammer Throw for Team Slovakia. 2017 graduate Irena Gillarová will represent the Czech Republic in track and field as well in the javelin competition.
In golf, 2015 grad Scott Vincent will be competing for Zimbabwe. Vincent has competed in the Asian Tour, the Japan Golf Tour, the European Tour, the PGA Tour Canada and the Japan Challenge Tour. Vincent is the first Zimbabwean golfer to qualify for the Olympic Games and will make history competing in Tokyo.
Virginia Tech is well-represented this year for the Olympic Games. It will be exciting to watch current and former Hokies represent their countries and the Hokie Nation as they compete in their respective events. They will have all of Blacksburg and every current and former student adorned in burnt orange and Chicago maroon behind them as they take on top opponents from around the world.