Get to know north Alabama athletes going for the gold in the Tokyo Olympics

Published: Jul. 23, 2021 at 8:33 AM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Let the games begin!

Anticipation and excitement continue to build for the Tokyo Olympics following Friday’s Opening Ceremonies. This is especially true for three athletes from north Alabama competing this year.

This is the first Olympic games for Quanesha Burks, JuVaughn Harrison and Zach Harting. Something else they all have in common: they all call north Alabama home.

WAFF 48 has all the info you need when it comes to cheering on these locals.


Quanesha Burks
Quanesha Burks(Team USA)

Quanesha Burks started her athletic career in Hartselle. She went on to compete at the University of Alabama where she became an all-American, winning the 2015 NCAA outdoor and 2016 NCAA indoor long jump titles.

Now, she’s off to Tokyo to fulfill her dreams of bringing home a gold medal in the Women’s Long Jump.

EVENT: Women’s Long Jump: Starts Saturday, July 31st at 7:50 p.m.

  • If Burks qualifies, she will compete during the medal event on Monday, August 2nd at 8:50 p.m.


JuVaughn Harrison
JuVaughn Harrison(Team USA)

JuVaughn Harrison, also known as, Mr. Jumps, took the top spot in both the high jump and long jump at the U.S. trials to punch his ticket to the games. He’ll be the first American since Jim Thorpe in 1912 to compete in both events.

The athlete from Huntsville is a Colombia High School grad and LSU standout.

Harrison is competing in two events, making it double the fun.

EVENTS: High Jump: Starts Thursday, July 29th at 7:15 p.m. Long Jump: Starts Saturday, July 31st at 5:10 a.m.

  • High Jump: Harrison ranked 2nd in his heat the Men’s High Jump clearing 2.28! He will compete during the medal event on Sunday, August 1st at 5:10 a.m.
  • Long Jump: If Harrison qualifies, he will compete during the medal event on Sunday, August 1st at 8:20 p.m.


Zach Harting
Zach Harting(Team USA)

Madison native Zach Harting is competing in the 200-meter Butterfly Final. The Bob Jones High School alum finished with a time of 1:55.06 in his trial race to make Team USA for the 2021 Summer games.

Harting ranked 10th in the World and swam collegiately at the University of Louisville. Harting will also have the chance to reach the Olympics in the 100 Butterfly, and the 200 Individual Medley.

EVENT: 200M Butterfly: Starts Monday, July 26th at 5:27 a.m.

  • The best 16 swimmers out of five heats will advance. If Harting advances, he will compete in the semifinal which has two heats on Monday, July 26th. Heat one is at 9:35 p.m. heat two is at 9:41 p.m. If he makes it through that he will compete in the medal event which is on Tuesday, July 27th at 8:49 p.m.

We’re wishing our north Alabama Olympians and all those representing team USA the absolute best! Don’t forget, you can catch all the action on WAFF 48, your local home for the Tokyo Olympic Games!

For more Olympics content, head to Where, when to watch the Tokyo Olympic Games on mobile devices & TV.

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