Where to See New Hampshire at the Olympics

Aug 5, 2016

If you’re looking for a local angle on this year’s 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, we’ve got you covered.

Here’s a roundup of reports on who’s repping the Granite State at this summer’s games, when to watch those athletes on the field and how everyone else, back in New Hampshire, is looking forward to following along.

How Well-Represented is N.H.?

It depends on how you’re counting.

A few Team USA athletes were born or grew up in New Hampshire: Tessa Gobbo, of Chesterfield, and Alex Karwoski, of Hollis, will be rowing; Jessica Parratto, of Dover, will be diving; and Sarah True, of Hanover, will be competing in the triathlon. (Scroll down for more details on each of them.)

But a bunch of other athletes (or others helping out with the games) have other New Hampshire ties.

As South Sudan prepares to compete in its first-ever summer games, its team will include Concord High School alumnus Guor Miading Maker — whose family settled in New Hampshire as refugees trying to escape violence in their home country.

Nine Dartmouth alumni will be competing: four in track and field, two in rowing, two in rugby, one in dressage and one in cycling. (Most will be representing the United States, but one will be on Team Canada and another on Team Greece.)

Another Dartmouth alumnus, Rob Simmelkjaer, will also be heading to the games as a studio host for MSNBC.

Also on the sidelines in Rio will be Concord’s Becky Bonner, who will be helping out with men’s basketball for Team USA, according to the Concord Monitor.

(Sources:  Concord Monitor, WMUR, Boston Globe, Dartmouth News)

Granite Staters Going for the Gold

Jessica Parratto, Age 22 — U.S. Diving

N.H. Connection: Hails from Dover

When to Watch: Women’s Synchronized 10M Platform (Aug. 9), Women’s 10M Platform (Aug. 17)

On Twitter: @jessicaparratto

“It's just like a dream realized," Parratto told Foster’s Daily Democrat earlier this summer. "I don't know if it will sink in until we're landing in Rio."

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Tessa Gobbo, Age 25 — U.S. Rowing

N.H. Connection: Born in Keene, grew up in Chesterfield

When to Watch: Women’s Coxed Eight (Aug. 8)

Results So Far: Gobbo and Team USA placed first in the Women's Eight Heats on Aug. 8. 

In high school, Gobbo once confided in her mom: "I said, 'I want to go to the Olympics — but don't tell anyone. I don't want to put too much pressure on myself." Read more from the Keene Sentinel on her journey toward realizing that dream.

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Alex Karwoski, Age 25 — U.S. Rowing

N.H. Connection: Born in Nashua, grew up in Hollis

When to Watch: Men’s Coxed Eight (Aug. 8)

Results So Far: Karwoski and Team USA didn't immediately qualify for the finals. Instead, they're heading to repechage on Aug. 10 — where they'll have another chance to qualify.

On Twitter: @Akarwoski4

After falling short at the 2014 World Rowing Championships, Karwoski found himself at a crossroads, as reported by the Nashua Telegraph: "My sister really drove it home… She said, 'OK, Alex, so you're not going to make the Olympics, right? So how much longer are you really going to do this?' ” Needless to say, his decision to keep at it has paid off.

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Sarah True, Age 34 — U.S. Triathlon

N.H. Connection: Born in Hanover and currently lives there (after growing up in Cooperstown, N.Y.)

When to Watch: Women’s Individual Triathlon (Aug. 20)

On Twitter: @sgroffy

Sarah True and her husband, Ben, were hoping to compete together in this year’s games — Runner’s World profiled the “endurance power couple” a few months ago. Ben finished “less than half a second shy of the qualifying mark,” per the Union Leader, but he’ll still be there to cheer her on.

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Guor Maker (Also known as “Guor Marial”), Age 32 — South Sudan Track and Field

N.H. Connection: Maker settled in Concord as a refugee fleeing violence in Sudan and ran track at Concord High

When to Watch: Men’s Marathon (Aug. 21)

On Twitter: @GuorMaker

Maker competed in the London 2012 Olympics as an independent athlete but will be part of South Sudan’s inaugural Olympic team this summer.  In a 2015 interview with WBUR, Maker said he hoped his story might be an example for other refugees: “You might be in the darkness today, they might think this is the end of the world for them, but I can tell them that if you keep hope and if you keep it alive with the support of people around you, whichever society you are in, there is always opportunity your dream will always come true.”

How Are Other Local Folks Gearing Up?

The Concord Monitor caught up with a pair of longtime fencers with the Concord Fencing Club who — despite the United States’ lackluster record in the sport — will be following along closely.

Some researchers at Tuck School of business at Dartmouth College came up with a model for predicting how many medals a country will walk away with this year. Their forecast for the 2012 London Olympics was 98 percent accurate, they told the Washington Post.

Just across the border in Vermont, the Valley News talked to one East Thetford man who’s in Rio de Janeiro as an announcer for his ninth Olympic Games. He made his debut during the 1980 Winter Games in Lake Placid, N.Y., according to the Valley News.

And at least one New Hampshire resident took to the field for another kind of summer games in western Maine: The  "Redneck _____ (Blank)" (apparently renamed after the official games threatened legal action). Sara Miller, one competitor from Manchester, summed it up this way to the Associated Press: “It's a big, dirty party.”

Did we miss anyone? Let us know! We’ll continue to update this post throughout the games.