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COLUMBIA, MD — Three Howard County athletes have qualified for the Summer Olympics in Paris as Team USA continues to take shape.

More than 10,500 athletes from all over the world will take part in the Summer Olympic Games in Paris, officially the Games of the XXXIII Olympiad, between the Opening Ceremony on July 26 and the Closing Ceremony on August 11.

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The 32 sports include gymnastics, swimming, diving, athletics, archery, basketball, beach volleyball, boxing, golf, tennis and wrestling.

A new sport – breaking – is described by the Olympic Games as a “young, acrobatic and urban sport” with American roots and is being added this year.

Three sports that made their debut at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo are taking part for the second time: sport climbing, skateboarding and surfing.

Qualified athletes from Howard County include:

Aaron Russell, 31, of Ellicott City. He attended Pennsylvania State University and is also a professional volleyball player. He will compete in volleyball at the Olympics.

Olympic experience:

  • 1-time Olympic participant; 1-time Olympic medalist (1 bronze)
    • Olympic Games Rio de Janeiro 2016, Bronze (Team – Men)

World Cup experience:

  • Last: 2022 – 6th (Team – Men)
  • Years of participation: Team – Men 2018, 2022
  • Medals: 1 (1 bronze)
    • Bronze – 2018 (Team – Men)

Jessica Stevens, 24, of Ellicott City. She attended Howard Community College and will compete in trampoline gymnastics.

World Cup experience:

  • Most recently: 2023 – Gold (All-Around Team – Mixed), Bronze (Individual Trampoline – Women), 6th place (Trampoline Team – Women)
  • Years of participation: All-around team – mixed 2021, 2022, 2023; Individual trampoline – women 2017, 2018, 2019, 2021, 2022, 2023; Trampoline team – women 2017, 2019, 2022, 2023; Synchronised – women 2017, 2018, 2019, 2021, 2022
  • Medals: 4 (1 gold, 2 silver, 1 bronze)
    • Gold – 2023 (All-Round Team – Mixed)
    • Silver – 2022 (All-Round Team – Mixed); 2021 (All-Round Team – Mixed)
    • Bronze – 2023 (Individual Trampoline – Women)

Career highlights:

  • Pan American Games, Santiago, 2023 (Individual Trampoline – Women, Synchronised Diving – Women)
  • Pan American Games, Lima, 2019 (Individual Trampoline – Women)

Paris also hosted the 1900 and 1924 Olympic Games. The 2024 Summer Paralympics will also be held in Paris and will take place from August 28 to September 8.

The Howard County athlete who qualified for the Paralympics is Noah Hanssen, who has been confined to a wheelchair since he lost the use of his legs in a car accident at age 7, according to the University of Maryland, where he studies. He will compete in parafencing at the Olympics.

Further qualifying events will take place in the coming weeks.

The full schedule of events and competitions can be found on the Olympia website.

NBC and its partner broadcasters once again have exclusive US broadcast rights. The broadcaster has announced that it will provide at least nine hours of daytime coverage during the Paris Games, including live broadcasts of the finals of the most popular sports. NBC’s streaming service Peacock will cover all sports and events. Full broadcast and streaming plans have not yet been announced.