Personal Best

You’ve already heard of decathlete Bryan Clay, but watch out for these other Hawaii natives chasing gold at the Summer Olympics in Beijing this month.

Photo: Courtesy of Maida Montemyor

Christel Simms

Sport: Swimming       
Age: 17

A dual citizen of the U.S. and the Philippines, Simms will be only the seventh female swimmer ever to represent the Philippines at the Summer Olympics. The soon-to-be Punahou School senior, who owns more than 50 Hawaii state swim meet records, will compete in the 100-meter freestyle in Beijing, but could also take on the 100 backstroke, 100 butterfly and 50 freestyle.  


Photo: courtesy of USA Wrestling

Clarissa Chun

Sport: Wrestling
Age: 26

This 4-foot-11 Roosevelt High graduate upset the reigning U.S. national champion and 2004 bronze medalist to qualify for Beijing in June. Chun, who wrestles in the smallest women’s freestyle division of 105.5 pounds, is the first wrestler from Hawaii to qualify for the U.S. Olympic team. She’s also one of a few to represent America since women’s wrestling became an Olympic sport in 2004.

Photo: courtesy of USA Judo

Taylor Takata

Sport: Judo       
Age: 26

At the U.S. Olympic trials in Las Vegas in June, Takata dominated the 145.5-pound division, becoming the first judo Olympian from Hawaii since 1996. The victory was extra sweet for the Wahiawa native; in 2004, he narrowly missed the chance to compete in Athens after losing that year’s final qualifying match. Takata has also excelled in wrestling, winning a state title for Iolani High School before graduating in 2000.  


Photo: courtesy of USA Soccer

Natasha Kai

Sport: Soccer       
Age: 24

A three-time WAC player of the year and an All-American during her career at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, Kai scored 11 goals in 12 games for the U.S. national team this year. While the Kahuku native gets a lot of press for her tattoos, her speed and ability to finish around the net are what make her a key component of the U.S. squad’s gold medal hopes this summer.