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Granite State athletes to watch at the Rio Olympic Games

  • A woman is silhouetted by the setting sun as she poses for a photo in a set of Olympic rings in the Olympic Park ahead of Rio's 2016 Summer Olympics, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Thursday, Aug. 4, 2016. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel) Charlie Riedel



Monitor staff
Friday, August 05, 2016

Starting tonight, the eyes of the world will be on Rio as athletes from around the globe compete over the next two weeks in more than 300 events spanning 35 sports. In the mix will be several athletes with New Hampshire ties, including one distance runner from South Sudan who found his stride as a refugee attending Concord High School.

Some call New Hampshire their home state while others came to attend college, where they further developed the skills and drive needed to be counted among the world’s best.

As you tune in to the competition and track the medal count, here are some current, former and one-time Granite Staters to keep an eye on.

Guor Miaker

The South Sudanese runner escaped violence in his home nation as a young boy and settled in Concord after gaining refugee status in the United States. Now 32, Miaker will compete in his second Olympic Games after qualifying for London in 2012 despite questions surrounding which nation he would represent. At those games four years ago, he was not a U.S. citizen and South Sudan did not have a team, but the International Olympic Committee accepted Miaker’s request to compete as an independent athlete. This time around in Rio, the IOC has recognized South Sudan, allowing Miaker and several other South Sudanese athletes to compete under the flag of their nation. He will run the men’s marathon on Aug. 21.

Becky Bonner

The former Concord High basketball standout who went on to play at Stanford and Boston University is working with the U.S. men’s team in Rio. Bonner was the director of basketball operations at the University of Louisville from 2007 to 2011, and has since worked in Basketball Operations International for the NBA.

Sarah True

Born in Hanover, where she currently resides, True, 34, was an All-American swimmer at Middlebury College in Vermont. She placed fourth in the triathlon at the 2012 Games in London and qualified again for the race in Rio.

Alex Karwoski

A native of Southern New Hampshire – he was born in Nashua and grew up in Hollis – Karwoski will compete in the men’s eight rowing competition in Rio. The 25-year-old has made the national team five times and rowed to a first place finish at the final Olympic qualification regatta.

Tessa Gobbo

Gobbo, originally of Chesterfield, will row in the women’s eight after finishing first at the qualification regatta. Gobbo, 25, was part of the first-place U.S. women’s eight team at the World Rowing Cup II in 2015 and 2016, and the World Rowing Championships in 2015.

The Dartmouth connection

Dartmouth College will be well represented at the Olympic Games in Rio with seven athletes competing on the water, road, track and field.

Joshua Konieczny, 25, and Harvard product Andrew Campbell Jr., 24, will pair up for the lightweight men’s double sculls. Rio is the first Olympics for both rowers.

On the track, Alexi Pappas, 26, will represent Greece in the 10,000-meter race. She graduated from Dartmouth in 2012. For the U.S., Abbey D’Agostino, 24, will run the 5,000-meter race. D’Agostino, a 2014 Dartmouth graduate, was a seven-time national champion and 16-time Ivy League champion.

Evelyn Stevens, 33, is a cyclist competing in the road race and time trial. Born in California, she grew up in Acton, Mass., and graduated from Dartmouth in 2005. In February, she set a world record riding 47.98 kilometers in one hour at the velodrome in Colorado Springs.

Sean Furey will throw the javelin for Team USA. He completed his master’s degree at Darmouth in 2005 and previously competed in the 2012 games in London.

Madison Hughes, 23, of Lancaster, Mass., will compete alongside New England Patriots safety Nate Ebner on the U.S. rugby team. Hughes graduated from Dartmouth in 2015.

(Nick Stoico can be reached at 369-3309, nstoico@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @NickStoico.)