A few up-and-comers who may make mark
Some are already on the ascent (rock climber Brooke Raboutou). Others are currently making waves (surfer Kanoa Igarashi) or shooting for the stars (skateboarder Poppy Starr Olsen).
The names of Raboutou, Igarashi and Olsen may not ring a bell now. That could change in a few months when their sports make Olympic debuts this summer at the Tokyo Games.
They’re just a few of the emerging athletes to keep close tabs on heading into 2020.
Or the Josh Allens. That’s right, plural, because it was a good year to be named Josh Allen in the NFL.
The Josh Allen who’s a quarterback in Buffalo led the Bills into the playoffs after throwing for 3,089 yards. The Josh Allen who’s a rookie pass rusher in Jacksonville finished with 10 1/2 sacks. Bright futures to the power of two.
Two other stars to emerge in 2019 were New York Mets slugger Pete Alonso ( 53 home runs, NL rookie of the year) and Tour de France winner Egan Bernal. The NBA’s No. 1 pick, Zion Williamson, remains in a holding pattern due to a knee injury. The New Orleans Pelicans rookie could be considered a carryover with the calendar about to flip.
Let’s name-drop a few on the rise: —Igarashi, surfing, Japan. His father grew up surfing in
Japan before moving to Huntington Beach, California, to be in the heart of surf country. The 22-year-old Igarashi has dual citizenship and elected to compete for Japan, where he’s already a household name and been featured on a reality TV show.
— Raboutou, climber, U.S. She’s the first U.S. female climber to qualify for Tokyo. The teenager grew up with world-class climbing parents and split her time between Colorado and France. She’s a student at the University of San Diego majoring in business.
— Olsen, skateboarding, Australia. The 19-year-old finished fourth at the Park World Championship in Brazil in September. There will be two skateboard disciplines contested in Tokyo — park and street.
— Jo Adell, baseball, L.A. Angels. Might break spring training as an outfielder for the Angels this season and be in the running for rookie of the year. He hit .289 with 10 homers in three minor league stops last season. Was drafted 10th overall by the Angels in 2017.
— Rose Lavelle, soccer, U.S. She scored a goal for the Americans in the World Cup final win over the Netherlands. Could be a big factor for the U.S. at the Tokyo Games.
— Matthew Wolff, golf, U.S. Won the 3M Open in July. He spent two seasons at Oklahoma State, where he was a two-time All-American and won the 2019 NCAA individual title.