Five local athletes set to appear in 2024 Paris Olympics

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — At least five people from the greater Rochester area will compete among the best athletes from across the globe for the 2024 Paris Summer Olympics.

The local athletes have earned a spot on Team USA or other countries. One of those is pole vaulter Brynn King, a fifth-year senior at Roberts Wesleyan. She qualified for the U.S. after jumping her personal best at the Olympic trials at the University of Oregon.

“Being fitted for my opening and closing ceremony outfit yesterday was very surreal so I’m excited to do all of the traditions around the Olympic games too,” she said.

King, a Texas native, is coached at Roberts Wesleyan by former gold medalist pole vaulter Jenn Suhr. King cleared her career best of 4.73 meters on her first attempt in the Olympic trials to earn one of three spots on the team.

“At this point I feel like anything can happen. I wasn’t even expecting to make the team so let’s go for it,” King said.

While King is making her first appearance, rower Meghan Musnicki from Naples will make her fourth trip to the Olympic Games for Team USA. Musnicki is no stranger to the medal podium either. She won a pair of gold medals, one in London twelve years ago and another in Rio in 2016.

“You’ve already quote-unquote made it. You’re representing the United States on the biggest stage and that’s something to be proud of,” said rower Meghan Musnicki.

She originally retired after the Tokyo Olympics but decided to get back in the game. Soon, at 41 years old, she’ll be the oldest American woman to row at the games.

Pittsford’s Magnus Sheffield will also head to Paris for cycling. He’s been one of America’s best cyclists in the World Tour, taking three wins in his first year as a pro.

But it’s not just the American flag to look out for. Rush-Henrietta graduate Lanae-Tava Thomas will compete for the Jamaican national track team in the 200-meter race. She qualified after running 22.34 seconds in the event.

“When I first crossed the line, I completely forgot it was qualifiers for the Olympics,” she said. “Seeing my parents so excited and so happy, and the crowd so exciting for me, I realized oh my gosh, I just qualified. Because I had no idea. I completely forgot.”

At Rush-Henrietta, she won 11 state titles between jumps and sprints. She became the first athlete in Section V to win three gold medals at the state meet.

Penfield’s Kevin Penev will compete on the gymnastics team for Bulgaria, his family’s home country. As the only member of his family born in America, Penev grew up training at his family’s gym, Rochester Gymnastics Academy in East Rochester.

“This has been an ambition that I’ve had since the age of four. I’ve always wanted to qualify for the Olympics. It was a dream that I had,” Penev said.

All of these Olympians are in different stages in their careers. But what ties them together is their love and appreciation for the influence Rochester had on them.

“The outpouring of support that I get from people in Naples – my mom still lives there – is incredible,” Musnicki said.

Different sports, some representing different countries. But in the 33rd Olympic Games, it’ll all about the 585. You can see more of our Olympics coverage here.