Olympics, Olympians and Wichita: The connection you need to know

Tokyo Olympics

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – More than 11,000 athletes are expected to compete in the Tokyo Summer games, and a few of them call Kansas home.

“Before when you watch the Olympics, you say, you know, I don’t know anyone but I’m excited about the Olympics,” said Chris Stewart, father of Olympian.

This year that premise changing for Chris and Lori Stewart. Their daughter Kelsey Stewart is competing on the USA Softball team.

“I asked her, and she said that was the first time she’s been nervous in a long time to play softball,” Lori said.

While Kelsey’s eyes are on the prize, many young eyes back home in Wichita are on her.

“It’s very uplifting you know because there’s a lot of girls and we’re trying to grow the game,” said Chris. “So, as we try to grow the game, this is like a big deal that girls know it is possible in our area to make it to the Olympics.”

3 Aug 1990: Lynette Woodard of the United States plays defense during a game at the Goodwill Games. (Credit: Tony Duffy/Allsport)

For Wichita native and Olympian Lynette Woodard, she has been glued to the games.

“Because really it just brings the warm fuzzies. you know I did that, I mean, wow, you know, sometimes when you’re in it, you don’t see it but sitting from the outside, makes me very proud,” Woodard said.

Woodard competed back in 1980 and 1984.

“A lot of dedication, a lot of hard work, and it certainly pays off,” she said.

Woodard brought home more than the gold medal she won, a priceless experience she will never forget.

“That was all a lot of fun and a time to get to know other people and just experienced one another while we weren’t competing against each other,” Woodard added.

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