DeChambeau, Prandini headline seven Olympians with Central Valley ties


(KSEE) – KSEE24 is your home for the Olympics, and we’ll be following seven Valley athletes on their quest for gold.

Perhaps the most recognizable of the Central Valley Olympians is the world’s sixth-ranked golfer Bryson DeChambeau. The Clovis East graduate will look to add an Olympic gold medal to a stellar resume already filled with an NCAA individual and U.S. Amateur Championship, and the 2020 U.S. Open title.

Also hailing from Clovis is sprinter Jenna Prandini, who qualified for Tokyo by finishing second in the 200 meters at the recent U.S. Olympic Track and Field trials. The top three in the event qualified. The former five-time state champion at Clovis High finished 10th in the 200m in Rio in 2016. She also will compete in the 100 meters in Tokyo, after the winner in that event at the Trials, Sha’Carri Richardson, was suspended after a positive marijuana test, and will miss the Games. Prandini originally finished fourth in the 100 at the Trials, but moved up to a top three qualifying spot after Richardson’s suspension. Prandini is also on the roster for the 4x100m relay team.

From two Clovis Unified Olympians — to one that emerged from Fresno. Lynn Williams’ journey to Tokyo began on the pitch at Bullard High, and is continuing these days as a regular contributor for the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team. She was originally named an alternate for these Games, but with the IOC likely expanding the soccer rosters for the Olympics, it looks like Lynn will be able to call herself an Olympian for the first time.

Lynn comes from a family of great athletes, and you can say the same for Tulare boxer Richard Torrez. Both his grandfather and father were talented boxers, and the Mission Oak alum qualified for the Olympics after establishing himself as one of the best amateur super heavyweights in the world.

Madilyn “Bubba” Nickles is also a first-time Olympian, but the Merced High product is no stranger to success at the highest levels of her sport. The softball sensation already has been a key part of two Junior World Championship teams, and won a national title at UCLA in 2019.

One of Bubba’s assistant coaches in Tokyo will be former Bulldog softball legend Laura Berg. Laura was a four-time All-American at Fresno State, and won three golds and one silver at four different Olympics.

And the Tokyo Games will mark the second Olympic appearance for Redwood High graduate Lauren Billys, an equestrian rider who finished 44th in eventing in the Rio Games. Billys will again be competing under the Puerto Rican flag, the birth country of her grandmother. Eventing combines three different equestrian disciplines – dressage, cross-country and show jumping.

We’ll have much more on all these athletes, in the leadup to the Games over the next couple weeks on KSEE24.

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