The Tennessee Vols Are Well Represented At 2020 Tokyo Olympics

Posted on July 23, 2021

The University of Tennessee is especially well represented at this summer’s 2020 Tokyo Olympics. A total of 19 Vols and Lady Vols will play for 13 countries in 7 different sports.

Vols have a strong history in the Olympics

Athletes have represented the Vols at the previous 15 Olympic games.

In total, 117 UT athletes have competed in the Olympics, earning 39 gold medals in the process.

This year, 17 Vols will compete in the summer games, and two former Lady Vols will return to the Olympic field as coaches.


Monica Abbott (2004-07) – USA

After winning a silver medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Monica Abbott returns to the games as a member of the US National Team at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Abbott threw 23 no-hitters and six perfect games during her time as a Lady Vol, leading her team to three consecutive Women’s College World Series appearances from 2005-07.

Abbott was the first pitcher in the history of NCAA Division I softball to record 500 strikeouts in four back-to-back seasons.

DraftKings TN highly favors Team USA to bring home the gold with -205 odds.


Erika Brown (2017-20) – USA

After leading the Lady Vols to their first-ever SEC Championship in 2020, Erika Brown will compete in the 100-meter freestyle at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The two-time SEC Female Swimmer of the Year collected 21 All-America awards and won 18 SEC gold medals. Moreover, she broke the American record in the 100-meter butterfly as a senior Lady Vol.

Brown has +2000 odds of winning gold in the 100-meter freestyle.

Tess Cieplucha (2017-20) – Canada

During her time as a Lady Vol, Tess Cieplucha claimed eight All-America honors and won two SEC gold medals. She will be competing in the 400-meter individual medley for Team Canada, an event that she won a gold medal for at the 2020 SEC Championships. Not coincidentally, the Lady Vols also won their first-ever SEC title that year.

Cieplucha has +3500 odds finishing in first place in this event.

Mona McSharry (2021-Pres.) – Ireland

2021 SEC Female Freshman Swimmer of the Year Mona McSharry set the Irish national record in the 100-meter breaststroke while qualifying for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. McSharry will compete in both the 100-meter and 200-meter breaststroke, both records which he holds at UT. She medaled at the SEC and NCAA Championships her freshman year and claimed six All-America honors.

Cherelle Thompson (2013-15) – Trinidad & Tobago

During her time as a Lady Vol, Cherelle Thompson helped guide her team to three top-15 NCAA Championship finishes and was named an All-American athlete. Thompson will compete in the 50-meter freestyle at the upcoming games.

Kira Toussaint (2016-17) – Netherlands

Kira Toussaint returns to the Olympic stage at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics to compete in the 100-meter backstroke. As a Vol, she won three SEC gold medals and eight All-America awards. She competed for the Netherlands at the 2016 Rio Olympics and finished 18th in the 100-meter backstroke. Toussaint currently holds the world record for 50-meter backstroke.

Odds of Toussaint winning the 100-meter backstroke are set at +3500.

Ellen Walshe (incoming freshman) – Ireland

Incoming freshman Lady Vol Ellen Walshe will be competing in the 200-meter individual medley for Ireland. She broke Ireland’s national time record of 2:12:02 to qualify for her position at the Olympics.

Lyubomir Epitropov (2021-pres.) – Bulgaria

Blugaria native Lyubomir Epitropoy will be competing in the 200-meter breaststroke at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. He won a gold medal in the event at the 2021 SEC Championships and currently holds the Tennessee record for 200-meter breaststroke.

Epitropov is given +8000 odds of winning the event this year.

Micahel Houlie (2019-Pres.) – South Africa

Micahel Houlie will be swimming in the 100-meter breaststroke for Team South Africa in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. He won a silver medal in this event during the 2021 SEC Swimming and Diving Championships, amounting to four total SEC Championship medals so far in his college career. He holds Tennessee’s record for the 100 breaststroke.

Joaquin Vargas (Incoming Freshman) – Peru

Peruvian Joaquin Vargas, an incoming freshman at UT, will be competing in the 400-meter freestyle at the Tokyo Olympics. Vargas won three gold medals at the 2020 Pembroke Pines 18&U Winter Championships and placed 18th in the Toyota US Open’s 200-meter freestyle.


Kara Lawson (2000-03) – USA – 3×3 Basketball (head coach)

Four-time All-SEC player Kara Lawson helped guide the Lady Vols to three NCAA Final Four appearances and four SEC titles during her time at the university. Lawson ranks as the No. 6 all-time scorer for the Lady Vols and the No. 2 player based on career three-point field goal percentage.

Lawson played in the WNBA for 13 combined seasons with the Sacramento Monarchs, Connecticut Sun and Washington Mystics. She was named a WNBA champion in 2005 and a WNBA All-Star in 2007.

Team USA sits in the lead with +110 odds of claiming gold in women’s 3×3 basketball.


Tennys Sandgren (2010-11) – USA

After two highly successful years on the Vols tennis team, Tennessee native Tennys Sandgren catapulted into the professional tennis world. Sandgren will be competing in both singles and doubles tennis at this year’s Tokyo Olympics. He began his time as a Vol as the No. 1-ranked recruit in the country and boasted a 60-12 singles record and a 38-11 doubles record.

Sandgren has +260 odds of claiming a victory over Spain’s Pablo Carreno Busta during their match Saturday.

Track & Field

Joella Lloyd (2019-Pres.) – Antigua and Barbuda

Current Lady Vol Joella Lloyd will be running in the 100-meter dash for Antigua and Barbuda, only the third Lady Vol in Olympic track & field history to run the event. In 2021, Lloyd tied the all-time standard for indoor 60-meter dash and broke the 100-meter dash record for freshman Lady Vol athletes.

Stamatia Scarvelis (2017-19) – Greece

Competing for Greece in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Stamatia Scarvelis holds Tennessee’s record in the hammer, winning the SEC crown in 2018 and 2019 and finishing inside the top 10 in NCAA competition.

Carey McLeod (2020-Pres.) – Jamaica

Carey McLeod holds the distinction of being the world’s only athlete to qualify for both the long jump and the triple jump in this year’s games. He is a three-time SEC champion and six-time NCAA All-American athlete.

Darryl Sullivan (2017-21) – USA

Four-time All-American Darryl Sullivan will be competing in the men’s high jump. He holds Tennessee school record for the high jump in addition to being the first Vol to qualify for the Olympics in this event.


Rhian Wilkinson (2000-03) – Great Britain – (assistant coach)

Four-time Olympian Rhian Wilkinson hails from Quebec, Canada and will be coaching Team Great Britain at the upcoming Olympics. Wilkinson played on the Canadian National Team during the previous three games (2008 Beijing, 2012 London and 2016 Rio), winning a bronze medal in 2013 and 2016. She has also competed in the FIFA Women’s World Cup four times. While at Tennessee, Wilkinson was named an All-SEC athlete three times. She holds the record for most assists with 32 and ranks second in total points with 88 goals scored.

Great Britain sits behind the USA, Sweden, and Netherlands with +600 odds of claiming the gold medal in women’s soccer.

Hannah Wilkinson (2012-16) – New Zealand

New Zealand native Hannah Wilkinson is a three-time Olympian as well as a three-time FIFA Women’s World Cup participant. Wilkinson spent five years at UT and scored 33 goals in the process, the second-best all-time total at the school.

DraftKings gives New Zealand +25000 odds of winning the women’s Olympic soccer competition, ahead of only Chile and Zambia


Kelsey Robinson (2010-12) – USA

Kelsey Robinson makes her second Olympic appearance this year playing for Team USA. She won a bronze medal with the team at the Rio Olympics in 2016. During her time at UT, Robinson was named SEC Player of the Year in 2011 and participated in three back-to-back NCAA Tournaments from 2010-2012.

Team USA follows behind China with +225 odds of winning the gold medal in women’s volleyball.

Watching the Vols at the Tokyo Olympics

The first events of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics began this past Wednesday as soccer and softball competition got underway. The Opening Ceremony takes place Friday, July 23, at 7:30 p.m. ET.

Vols fans and bettors can stream events live on NBC.

Photo by Associated Press
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Alec Cunningham

As a college athlete, Alec Cunningham played Division II golf at Tusculum University. She graduated in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Professional Writing. She then returned to her love of written word in 2000 after working in the music industry as a concert promoter, tour manager and artist developer. As a journalist, she's covered a variety of topics and currently specializes in Tennessee online sports betting and Virginia casino news. She served as a panelist at this year's All American Sports Betting Summit, discussing the ever-evolving role of women in the gambling industry.

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