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Recapping the UNC Olympians performances in Tokyo

With the Tokyo games at an end, let’s check in on how the Tar Heels did across the various sports.

Republic of Korea v United States - Baseball - Olympics: Day 13 Photo by Yuichi Masuda/Getty Images

The 2020 (even though it’s 2021) Olympics are coming to an end this weekend. As thousands of athletes from all over the world competed in all sort of events, 10 who were former UNC athletes were among them. With the Tokyo games at an end, let’s check in on how the 10 Tar Heels did.

Women’s Soccer

Five Tar Heels across three national teams competed at the women’s soccer tournament in Tokyo.

As is custom, UNC had two players feature on the US team that medaled in yet another Olympics. Crystal Dunn and Tobin Heath will come home with a bronze as the US beat Australia after an otherwise down Olympics.

As the reigning World Cup champions and the historic best women’s soccer country, the USWNT came in with gold medal hopes, but lost to Sweden in their opening game, which kicked off a tournament-long run of them looking worse than we usually expect.

They eventually did enough to get through to the semifinals, but a loss to rival Canada ended the hopes for gold. They ended the tournament on somewhat of a high note in coming home with bronze, though.

Dunn ended up being the team’s iron women, playing all except 16 minutes across the six games the US played. Heath appeared in all six game, starting four of them.

One of the teams the US beat in their run was New Zealand, who featured Tar Heel Katie Bowen. The “Football Ferns” as they’re called lost all three matches they played, but Bowen played every minute before they exited after the group stage.

The remaining two women’s soccer Heels competed for Great Britain, who went out at the quarterfinal stage. Lucy Bronze is generally seen as one of the greatest players in the world. She played every minute for a GB defense, who allowed just one goal in the group stage. However, that defense slightly came apart in a 4-3 extra time loss to Australia in the quarterfinals. GB’s other Tar Heel was Lotte Wubben-Moy, but she did not end up appearing in any match.

Baseball

Baseball returned to the Olympics for the first time since 2008, and two Tar Heels helped the US win a silver medal.

Catcher Tim Federowicz did not appear in any games as the US backup, however pitcher Ryder Ryan threw five scoreless innings across four games. That included a scoreless inning a losing effort in the Gold Medal Game, and him being credited as the winning pitcher in the semifinal win over South Korea.

Track and field

Former track and field All-American Kenny Selmon represented UNC and the US at the Olympics after he qualified for the 400m hurdles.

He advanced out of his first heat, but unfortunately had the 10th best time of the semifinals, just missing out on a place in the Olympic final. He shouldn’t feel bad about that however, as it was a fairly stacked final, as several national records were broken in the final and gold medalist Karsten Warholm broke the world record.

Diving

UNC swept the ACC Diver of the Year awards in this year’s collegiate season, and both went on to represent UNC and their countries at the Olympic level this year.

Freshman Aranza Vázquez qualified as a member of team Mexico in the 3m springboard and finished sixth overall. Anton Down-Jenkins competed in the men’s edition of the 3m springboard and in the process became New Zealand’s first male diver to compete at the Olympics since 1984. He finished eighth in the event.