There has never been an Olympic Games quite like this summer’s competition—which still carries the words “Tokyo 2020” in its official name, despite taking place a full year behind schedule. Postponed by and eventually held during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, these Olympics have presented an unprecedented set of challenges to athletes from Beijing to Berlin to Dallas, all of whom have been forced to adapt to never-before-seen obstacles and conditions to qualify for the events they’ve trained their whole lives to reach. Not all of them make it, but more than fifty sportsmen and women with ties to Texas will be representing the United States this year, and Texas Monthly has teamed up with June Third Films to tell the stories of four Olympic hopefuls from our state on their journeys from Texas to Tokyo.
Kelley and Courtney Hurley participate in épée, the only Olympic fencing event (out of three; the others are foil and sabre) in which the competitors’ entire bodies are eligible for scoring touches. The sisters from San Antonio are members of the first and only women’s épée team in U.S. history to win a medal, claiming bronze at the 2012 London Games. Older sibling Kelley, who is 33, will be competing in her fourth Olympics this summer; it’s the third trip for Courtney, who’s three years younger. The Hurleys have trained together for as long as they can remember, and in Tokyo, they will make one last run at Olympic glory before Kelley, a medical student, moves to the Caribbean to complete her studies at the St. James School of Medicine.