Four athletes and two coaches with ties to the University of South Carolina are headed to the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro next month.
The six are diver Julia Vincent (competing for South Africa), soccer goalkeeper Sabrina D’Angelo (Canada), sprinter Aliyah Abrams (Guyana), swimmer Akaram Mahmoud (Egypt), and Team USA coaches Dawn Staley (women’s basketball) and Curtis Frye (track and field).
Vincent grew up in South Africa before coming to South Carolina, and she earned her ticket to Rio by winning the 3-meter spring board event at the South African Olympic trials in April, Carson Mason of The State reported.
“It was probably the most nerve-wracking meet I ever had to be a part of, because there was so much on the line,” Vincent told The State.
D’Angelo was a National Soccer Coaches Association of America All-American in her final season in 2014 and is Canada’s backup goalkeeper.
Abrams, who was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., has never set foot in Guyana, but she’s eligible to compete for the country because her parents were born there. She’ll be competing in the 400 meters, and Frye, her coach, will be there to cheer her on.
“We have a very good relationship,” Abrams told The State. “He tells me what I need to work on and I listen. I have to listen to everything he says even if I don’t agree with it, but it’s definitely a good relationship.”
Mahmoud has qualified for the 400-meter and 1,500-meter freestyle. He finished second in the 1,650-meter NCAA national finals in March.
Staley, the coach of the Gamecocks’ women’s team since 2008, needs little introduction. She is a former first-round WNBA draft pick and 6-time WNBA All-Star.