Ashleigh Johnson, USA Water Polo
Here is one of the eight athletes you probably don’t know who haven’t yet shown their skills on the gigantic Olympics stage. They will. Don’t say we didn’t give you the heads-up! [See below for the others on our list.]
Johnson will be key to U.S. attempts to defend its gold medal from the London Olympics. The 21-year-old Princeton student and native of Miami was named the top goalkeeper at the 2015 World Championships, 2014 World Cup and 2013 Junior World Championships as she helped the U.S. win gold in all three tournaments. Ashleigh, at 6-foot-1-inches tall, has long arms, perfect for firing outlet passes for U.S. counterattacks and guarding the top parts of the goal, and she moves through the water with ease. Check this: Ashleigh was sick of swimming in high school. Her mother told her that she could stop the sport if she won the 50-meter freestyle at the state championships as a sophomore. So she won and walked away. Ashleigh has been named Swimming World Magazine Female Water Polo Player of the Year. Swimming’s loss has been water polo’s gain.
Click below to see the rest of the breakout American Olympians!
1. Vashti Cunningham, track and field
2. Laurie Hernandez, gymnastics
3. Adeline Gray, wrestling
4. Crystal Dunn, soccer
5. Jackie Galloway, taekwondo
6. Ashleigh Johnson, water polo
7. Abbey Weitzell, swimming
8. Brianna Rollins, track and field