Which North Texas Athletes Are Least Likely To Make It Back From The 2016 Rio Olympics Alive?
Welcome to Ranked, our recurring column in which we take a long, hard look at oddly specific things pertaining to Dallas and tell you the order in which you should care about them.
The 2016 Summer Olympics kick off tonight in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. And like every Olympics lately, it is going to befraught with controversy.
Really, this one looks pretty bad. Brazil didn’t clean up its polluted rivers or its toxic air in preparation. Worse, there’s societal strife, as there’s a massive poverty problem and the country’s president is undergoing impeachment proceedings.
Things are so off-line that Olympic officials even got locked out of their own stadium this week!
Meanwhile, we haven’t even gotten into the Zika fears or the uninhabitable accommodations the athletes are being asked to live in as the games take place.
Somehow, though, these summer games are set to include more participating athletes from more countries than ever before. Below, we take a look at the ones with North Texas connections — ranked in descending order, from most likely to get out of Rio alive to least likely to do so safely.
As signs held up by some striking police and fire officers read while they greeted incoming athletes at the airport: “Welcome to Hell … Whoever comes to Rio de Janeiro will not be safe.”
(Ranked By Presumed Danger At The Rio Olympics.)
30. Mona Shaito (Dallas/Lebanon) – Fencing
29. Stephen Lambdin (Colleyville Heritage HS/USA) – Taekwondo
28. Jackie Galloway (Wylie HS/USA) – Taekwondo
27. Tervel Dlagnev (Arlington HS/USA) – Wrestling
Each of the above competitors participates in an event that takes place indoors, so they should be fine. But their self-defense skills could come in handy in case they encounter any violent protesters.
26. Erin Phillips (Wings/Australia) – Basketball
25. Tamika Catchings (Duncanville HS/USA) – Basketball
24. Nicolas Brussino (Mavericks/Argentina) – Basketball
23. Andrew Bogut (Mavericks/Australia) – Basketball
22. Harrison Barnes (Mavericks/USA) – Basketball
The U.S. men’s basketball team is chilling on a cruise ship instead of staying the Olympic Village, which is smart, assuming no one drunkenly falls off the deck and into the virus-infected water after this team whoops the competition. On the other hand, if DeAndre Jordan wants to take a dip in that nasty water…
21. Connor Fields (Plano/USA) – Cycling
20. Chrishuna Williams (DeSoto HS/USA) – Track & Field
19. Shelbi Vaughan (Mansfield Legacy HS/USA) – Track & Field
18. Lorraine Ugen (TCU/UK) – Track & Field
17. Courtney Okolo (Carrolton Newman Smith HS/USA) – Track & Field
16. Jennifer Madu (Plano East HS/USA) – Track & Field
15. Lovisa Lindh (SMU/Sweden) – Track & Field
14. Monzavous Edwards (Irving/Nigeria) – Track & Field
13. Kyle Clemons (Rowlett HS/USA) – Track & Field
12. Michelle Carter (Red Oak HS/USA) – Track & Field
Let’s not forget that, on top of the disgusting water, there are also especially heinous mosquitoes flying all around Rio, carrying the Zika virus. Will Zika kill you? No, but it’s terrifying in its own right, especially if any of these athletes are planning on having kids any time soon.
11. Gerina Piller (Dallas/USA) – Golf
10. Danny Lee (Irving/New Zealand) – Golf
9. Rodolfo Cazaubon (UNT/Mexico) – Golf
This is the first time golf has been played at the Olympics since the 1904 competition in St. Louis. Now that it’s back in the games, athletes aren’t just facing the same open-air troubles the track-and-field set will, but they’re also doing it right next to the water. Here’s hoping these golfers hit ’em straight this week! No wonder Jordan Spieth is sitting things out…
8. Sarah Scherer (TCU/USA) – Shooting
I know they’re all trained pros (well, amateurs, technically), but I’m always surprised there’s a shooting competition in the Olympics. Watch your six!
7. Isabella Arcila (SMU/Colombia) – Swimming
6. Julian Fletcher (SMU/Bermuda) – Swimming
7. Jonathan Gomez (SMU/USA) – Swimming
4. Katie Meili (Fort Worth Nolan HS/USA) – Swimming
3. Rachel Nicol (SMU/Canada) – Swimming
2. Nina Rangelova (SMU/Bulgaria) – Swimming
1. Matea Samardzic (SMU/Croatia) – Swimming
All the chlorine in the world is unlikely to get out every pollutant in Rio’s filthy waters. When officials have to advise athletes competing in any water-based event — including sailing! — to keep their mouths closed, you know you have a problem.
Good luck to all of our athletes!