A look ahead to Virginia in the 2024 Paris Olympics

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 09: Gabrielle Douglas of the United States poses for photographs with her gold medal after the medal ceremony for the Artistic Gymnastics Women's Team on Day 4 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Rio Olympic Arena on August 9, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

By Ava Edwards

April 25, 2024

With the 2024 Paris Olympic Games quickly approaching, many athletes are setting up for qualifying rounds to represent the United States—and their hometowns.

Much like in previous years, many Virginia athletes are vying for a chance to compete not only for their state, but also for their country. As we look forward to cheering our fellow Virginians on as they fight for their spot in the games, it’s important to remember the athletes who previously brought home medals.

Here’s a callback to past—and hopeful—Virginian Olympic athletes. Spoiler alert: We’re so proud of all of our athletes and think they’re all worth gold.

Previous winners

Benita Fitzgerald Mosley

A look ahead to Virginia in the 2024 Paris Olympics

NEW ORLEANS, LA – SEPTEMBER 10: Laureus USA Foundation CEO and former Olympic Gold Medalist Benita Fitzgerald Mosley participates in the fun at The New Orleans Sport for Community Coalition’s Youth Sports Field Day. The event was held at the AL Davis Park during the NOLA Laureus Sport for Good Weekend on September 10, 2016 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Andrew J. Cohoon/Getty Images for Laureus)

Benita Fitzgerald Mosley is a retired track-and-field athlete from Dale City. Mosley competed in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games in the 100-meter hurdles event.

This Virginia native not only won a gold medal for the event, but she was also the first Black woman to win gold in the 100-meter hurdles. The athlete was also set to compete in the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow, but did not participate along with most American athletes due to the boycott of that year’s games.

After her competitive sporting career, Mosley began an engineering career. She later became CEO of Multiplying Good, an organization dedicated to cultivating greatness through service to others.

Pernell “Sweet Pea” Whitaker

A look ahead to Virginia in the 2024 Paris Olympics

FILE – In this Nov. 18, 1995, file photo, WBC welterweight champion Pernell “Sweet Pea” Whitaker, right, delivers a right to the head of challenger Jake Rodriguez during their scheduled 12 round bout in Atlantic City, N.J. Former boxing champion Pernell Whitaker has died after he was hit by a car in Virginia. He was 55. Police in Virginia Beach on Monday say Whitaker was a pedestrian when struck by the car Sunday night, July 14, 2019. The driver remained on the scene, where Whitaker was pronounced dead. (AP Photo/Donna Connor, File)

Pernell Whitaker was a silver and gold medal-winning boxer in the 1983 Pan American Games and the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles.

Hailing from Virginia Beach, Whitaker held many lightweight, light-middleweight, and other boxing titles. At the time of his retirement in 2001, his professional career ended with a record of 40 wins, 1 draw, and 4 losses.

During his retirement, Whitaker returned to his hometown, where he worked as a trainer until he was struck by a car and killed in 2019.

Melissa Belote Ripley

A look ahead to Virginia in the 2024 Paris Olympics

American swimmer Melissa Belote. (Photo by Universal/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images)

Springfield native Melissa Belote Ripley is an Olympic swimmer and world record-holder in the 100 and 200-meter backstroke.

At just 15 years old, Ripley competed in her first Olympic Games during the 1972 Munich events. There, she won three gold medals and set her world records.

Ripley retired in 1979 and moved to Arizona where she raised her children. However, she’s kept up with other DMV Olympic athletes over the years, including fellow swimmer Katie Ladecky.

Francena Lynette McCorory

A look ahead to Virginia in the 2024 Paris Olympics

LONDON, ENGLAND – AUGUST 04: Francena McCorory of The United States recieves her realocated bronze medal from the womens 400m final at the 2011 Daegu Championships during day one of the 16th IAAF World Athletics Championships London 2017 at The London Stadium on August 4, 2017 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Francena Lynette McCorory is a retired track and field athlete whose hometown is Hampton. During her time at Bethel High School, McCorory discovered a passion for running and soon honed her skills in the 400-meter event.

McCoroy competed in the 2012 London and 2016 Rio Olympic Games, where her relay teams won gold. McCorory retired from her competitive career in 2021.

Who to watch in qualifiers

Gabby Douglas

A look ahead to Virginia in the 2024 Paris Olympics

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – AUGUST 09: Gabrielle Douglas of the United States poses for photographs with her gold medal after the medal ceremony for the Artistic Gymnastics Women’s Team on Day 4 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Rio Olympic Arena on August 9, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

After a quiet past few years, Newport News’ Gabby Douglas recently announced she’s vying for a shot at the 2024 Paris Olympics.

The gold medal-winning gymnast and Virginia native made history during the 2012 London Games when she helped the US gymnastics team win gold for the first time in decades. She later went on to win the all-around title, making Douglas the first African-American to receive this honor. In the 2016 Rio Games, Douglas and her Olympic team won yet another gold medal for the US.

Douglas has not competed in the Olympics since 2016, but expressed her desire to qualify for this year’s games.

Nick Mayhugh

A look ahead to Virginia in the 2024 Paris Olympics

United States’ Nick Mayhugh celebrates after winning the men’s 100m T37 final at Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, Friday, Aug. 27, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

Nick Mayhugh is a Paralympic sprint runner and soccer player from Fairfax.

Mayhugh last competed for America in the 2020 Paralympic Games in the 100 meter, where he set a world record and won gold, men’s 400 meter, where he won silver, and mixed 4 x 100 meter, where he won gold yet again.

Mayhugh developed cerebral palsy on the left side of his body at a young age, but continued with his love of sports, ultimately winning numerous medals and honors—and even breaking world records. Mayhugh is looking to qualify for the 2024 Paralympic Games.

Torri Huske

A look ahead to Virginia in the 2024 Paris Olympics

SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS – APRIL 12: Torri Huske competes in the Women’s 100m Butterfly prelims on Day 3 of the TYR Pro Swim Series San Antonio at Northside Swim Center on April 12, 2024 in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

Victoria “Torri” Huske is an Olympic swimmer who won silver for her 4 x 100-meter medley relay in the 2020 Olympics.

Huske is a second-generation immigrant from Arlington, whose parents are from China. From a young age, Huske’s parents took her swimming at their local pool—ironically, she wasn’t immediately fond of the sport.

Through hard work and dedication, Huske eventually worked up to swimming at an Olympic level.

  • Ava Edwards

    Ava is an up-and-coming journalist who recently graduated from William & Mary with a degree in English. She's written for news publications such as her school's newspaper, The Flat Hat, and Hampton Roads' WAVY-TV 10. As a lifelong Virginia resident, she looks forward to informing her community on the latest information and events.

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