Editor’s note: Since being interviewed for this article, beach volleyball Olympian Taylor Crabb tested positive for COVID-19 and will not compete at the games.
Ten athletes and five coaches with ties to Long Beach traveled to Tokyo this week for what is certain to be an Olympic Games unlike any other in history.
The local athletes will compete or participate in water polo, sailing, diving, softball, baseball, track and field and volleyball.
The Olympians from Long Beach—and from everywhere—are achieving a lifelong dream, but are arriving in a country that does not want to host the Games because of a surge in COVID-19 cases. With the Opening Ceremonies scheduled for Friday, Tokyo organizer Toshiro Muto on Tuesday evening still could not rule out the possibility of an “11th hour” cancelation of the games.
The Japanese newspaper Asahi held a poll that found that 55% of Japanese citizens were opposed to the Olympics being held.
It’s put Olympians in a strange position where they’re simultaneously jubilant about years of hard work paying off, but also aware that the usual community Olympic jubilation will not be there. Because of travel restrictions, athletes aren’t allowed to bring any guests, including spouses.
Only athletes, coaches, and other team staff have been permitted to enter Japan. Fans also won’t be allowed in any of the venues.
“It’s kind of weird to hear the Japanese people say they should cancel them altogether,” said Long Beach State alum and USA Beach Volleyball Olympian Taylor Crabb. “I think everyone working to put this on has done the absolute best job they can to keep everyone healthy and safe. I’m thankful they’re still doing it and I’m excited.”
Crabb has since tested positive for COVID and will not be competing at the games.
For fellow Long Beach State alum TJ DeFalco, who an Olympian on the USA indoor men’s volleyball team, it’s unfortunate but also something he’s not planning on dwelling on.
“It’s a little bit of a negative, but man, the overwhelming thing is the fact that it’s the Olympic Games, something I’ve been dreaming of since I was a little kid,” said DeFalco. “Of course you’d like to share these moments with family and loved ones, but being able to be there and experience it is still so special. It’s just a little bummer, but I don’t think anyone is going to dwell on it too much once things get started.”
Here’s a look at the Long Beach delegation heading to Tokyo; follow @562sports on Twitter for live updates of how the Long Beach crew is doing.
- Gavin Arroyo: Long Beach State water polo coach serving as an assistant coach on the USA men’s national team
- Suzy Brookshire: Long Beach State softball player competing for the Mexican national team
- Taylor Crabb: Long Beach State alum paired with Jake Gibb as one of the USA Beach Volleyball tandems
- Hannes Daube: Long Beach native (attended Orange Lutheran) and Shore Aquatics product playing on the USA men’s national water polo team
- TJ DeFalco: Long Beach State alum playing on the USA men’s national volleyball team
- Kyle Ensing: Long Beach State alum playing on the USA men’s national volleyball team
- Danny Espinosa: Long Beach State alum competing for the Mexican national baseball team
- Matt Fuerbringer: Current Long Beach State assistant volleyball coach currently serving as an assistant coach with the USA men’s volleyball team
- Riley Gibbs: Wilson alum who’s a rising star on the USA Sailing team
- Tyler Hildebrand: Long Beach State alum currently serving as the director of USA Beach Volleyball
- Max Irving: Wilson alum and Shore Aquatics product playing on the USA men’s national water polo team
- Jonny Jones: Long Beach State alum competing for the Mexican national baseball team
- Brandon Loschiavo: Huntington Beach native who trained in the city with McCormick Divers, now competing with USA Diving
- Chris Oeding: Current LBCC water polo coach currently serving as an assistant coach with the USA women’s national team
- LaTanya Sheffield: Current Long Beach State track and field coach serving as an assistant coach with the USA Track team
For the full schedule of Olympic events, click here.
Support our journalism.
Hyperlocal news is an essential force in our democracy, but it costs money to keep an organization like this one alive, and we can’t rely on advertiser support alone. That’s why we’re asking readers like you to support our independent, fact-based journalism. We know you like it—that’s why you’re here. Help us keep hyperlocal news alive in Long Beach.