Ten South Florida Athletes to Watch in the 2016 Rio Olympics

Ten South Florida Athletes to Watch in the 2016 Rio Olympics
Kithan / Shutterstock.com

Most of the coverage of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games has rightfully focused on how well athletes, their families, and media members will deal with disturbing circumstances and questionable security once they arrive in Brazil. When the Games kick off this Friday, much of the world will be holding its breath. 

That being said, it's time we give a little more attention to the athletes, many of whom are from right here in South Florida. One of the greatest parts of the Olympics is hearing the individual stories of triumph and perseverance that led these athletes to represent the United States. Here are just a few of the local heroes who, beginning Friday, will take the biggest sports stage in the world. 

Ten South Florida Athletes to Watch in the 2016 Rio Olympics
Chatchai Somwat / Shutterstock.com

Lexi Thompson
Hometown: Coral Springs 

As a 12-year-old in 2007, Lexi Thompson became the youngest golfer to qualify for the U.S. Women's Open. Since becoming the youngest-ever winner of an LPGA Tour event in 2011 with her Navistar LPGA Classic victory, Thompson has quickly become a household name in women's golf. At just 19, Thompson won the Kraft Nabisco Championship, her fist major win on the tour. Thompson has two brothers who have played on the Men's PGA Tour. 

Ten South Florida Athletes to Watch in the 2016 Rio Olympics
Kithan / Shutterstock.com

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Sloane Stephens
Hometown: Plantation

Tennis phenom Sloane Stephens turned pro in 2010 and as of last week was ranked 25th in the world. Stephens has won four singles titles on the WTA Tour. During her semifinals run at the 2013 Australian Open, she defeated Serena Williams. Stephens' father, John Stephens, was selected by the New England Patriots in the first round (17th overall) of the 1988 NFL Draft. 

Ten South Florida Athletes to Watch in the 2016 Rio OlympicsEXPAND
Courtesy of Team USA

Brianna Rollins
Hometown: Miami

Brianna Rollins graduated from Miami Northwestern Senior High in 2009 and went on to compete in track and field at Clemson University, from which she graduated in 2013. She burst onto the Rio Olympics radar after defeating reigning Olympic champion Sally Pearson to win the 100-meter hurdles gold medal at the 2013 World Championships. Rollins will compete in the 100-meter hurdles at the Rio Games. 

Ten South Florida Athletes to Watch in the 2016 Rio OlympicsEXPAND
Courtesy of USA/IAAF Championships

Arman Hall
Hometown: Pembroke Pines 

Arman Hall attended St. Thomas Aquinas High School, where he was named an All-USA high-school track-and-field team selection by USA Today in 2011. Upon graduating, he enrolled at the University of Florida, where he joined the track-and-field team. In 2015, he won the Southeastern Conference Indoor Men's Runner of the Year. Hall will compete in both the men's 400-meter and four-by-400-meter relay. 



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