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Brooklyn to Rio: 3 young Olympians bring to mind former borough stars

August 5, 2016 By John Alexander Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Fencer Nzingha Prescod. Photos courtesy of Team USA
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Brooklyn certainly has something to cheer for in this year’s Olympics — three talented young women who are from the borough and will be competing in Rio for the gold. Nzingha Prescod (fencing), Kristen Shaldybin (gymnastics) and Lia Neal (swimming) will be giving their all to make the U.S., and Brooklyn, proud of their achievements.

Brooklyn is certainly no stranger to the Olympics, having provided some of the finest athletes to ever compete over the years.  World-famous Olympians from the borough include basketball legend Michael Jordan who was born in Fort Greene, New York Knicks all-star Carmelo Anthony who was born in Red Hook, boxing great Mike Tyson who hails from Brownsville, retired basketball player Pearl Washington who is also from Brownsville, former Yankees coach Joe Torre who lived in Marine Park, two-time gold medal champion basketball star Chris Mullen who was raised in Flatlands, baseball icon Sandy Koufax who grew up in Borough Park and basketball star Bernard King who attended Fort Hamilton High School in Bay Ridge.

Joining this prestigious list of past Olympic champions are the three incredibly gifted athletes who will be chasing the bronze, silver and gold.

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Prescod was born in NYC and currently lives in Brooklyn. She attended Stuyvesant High School and Columbia University where she majored in political science. In addition to qualifying for this year’s Rio games, she previously won a bronze medal at the 2015 world championships. She is the first African-American woman to ever win an individual medal at the event.

Prescod first qualified to represent Team USA at the London 2012 Olympic games when she was 19.

Shaladybin was born in Woonsocket, Rhode Island and now lives in Brooklyn. She attended Highland Park High School in Illinois, and is a member of the North Shore Rhythmic Gymnastics Center. Shaladybin was a member of the six-person team that gave the U.S. its first Olympic spot in the rhythmic group competition with a 13th place all around finish at the 2015 world championships.

Neal was born and raised in Brooklyn. She attended Covenant of the Sacred Heart High School in Manhattan and Stanford University where she majored in science, technology and society.  Neal was a bronze medalist at the 2012 London Olympic Games.

So, if you need any added incentive to tune in to the Olympics, you’ll find no better reason than to root for these three homegrown Team USA champions who will be representing Brooklyn, as well as America, this year in Rio.


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