Team Preview: Lithuania

Note: Last minute changes are always possible

Lithuania is a Baltic Nation located in Eastern Europe. Lithuania first participated in the 1924 and 1928 Summer Olympics. After missing the 1932 and 1936 Olympics the nation was incorporated into the Soviet Union towards the end of World War II. Lithuanian athletes competed under the USSR banner until Lithuania regained its independence in 1990. Lithuania returned to the Olympics as an independent nation in 1992 and has competed ever since. As an independent nation Lithuania has won a total of 21 medals with athletics and modern pentathlon accounting for the largest share. In 2012 Lithuania won five medals including 2 golds. The nation will be looking for a similar performance where medal prospects spread across multiple sports.

One of the most talked about teams within Lithuania is the men’s basketball team. After a relatively disappointing quarter-final finish at the 2012 Olympics Lithuania will be looking to reach the medal rounds at this Olympics in hopes of winning their fourth medal. Appearing in their seventh Olympics as an independent nation the team has improved since those games and is currently ranked third in the world. They have more recently finished fourth at the 2014 World Cup and won the silver medal at both of the 2013 and 2015 EuroBasket.

Another medal hopeful for Lithuania will be in the modern pentathlon. Laura Asadauskaite will be competing in her third Olympics and will be defending her gold medal won in 2012. She is the 2015 European champion and also won the gold medal at the 2015 World Cup Final event. She will be joined by Ieva Serapinaite in the women’s race while 2012 Olympian Justinas Kinderis will compete in the men’s race.

The swimming team will be led by 2012 Olympic gold medalist Ruta Meilutyte whom will compete in her signature event, the women’s 100m breaststroke. Meilutyte became the youngest Lithuanian Olympic gold medalist at the age of 15. Since then she has won gold at the 2014 Youth Olympics, silver at the 2015 World Championship and gold at the 2016 European Championship. On the men’s side 2016 European Championship bronze medalist Giedrius Titenis will compete in his third Olympics in the men’s 100m and 200m breaststroke. Danas Rapsys, also a bronze medalist at the 2016 European Championship will compete in the men’s 200m freestyle, 100m and 200m backstroke. Simonas Bilis will compete in the men’s 50m and 100m freestyle and Andrius Sidlauskas will compete in the men’s 100m breaststroke. The men’s side will also enter a 4x100m medley relay where Bilis, Deividas Margevicius, Rapsys and Titenis will compete

Rowing will also be seen as a potential medal prospect for Lithuania. The team will be led by the men’s double sculls boat of Rolandas Mascinskas and Saulius Ritter. The pair will compete together for their second Olympics and are the 2015 World Championship silver medalist. Also a medal threat is 2015 World Championship bronze medalist Mindaugas Griskonis whom will compete in his third Olympics in the men’s single sculls. 2012 Olympian Donata Vistartaite has moved from the women’s singles sculls to the double sculls, partnering with Milda Valciukaite. Together the women won gold at the 2013 World Championship. Other boats which will represent Lithuania include Lina Saltyte in the women’s single sculls and the men’s quadruple sculls boat which include Aurimas Adomavicius, Martynas Dziaugys, Zygimantas Galisanskis and Dominykas Jancionis.

While Lithuania will be sending a small boxing team both athletes will be looking to go far in their respective events. 2012 Olympic bronze medalist and 2015 European Championship bronze medalist Evaldas Petrauskas will compete in the men’s light welterweight. Joining him is 2015 European Championship gold medalist Eimantas Stanionis in the men’s welterweight.

Lithuania will be sending a decently large athletics team. In the road events several athletes will be making their return. In the women’s 20km walk 2012 Olympians Neringa Aidietyte and Brigita Virbalyte-Dimsiene will compete with Zivile Vaiciukeviciute. Marius Ziukas will compete in his third Olympics in the men’s 20km walk along with Marius Savelskis. Also competing in his third Olympics is Tadas Suskevicius whom will compete with Arturas Mastianica in the men’s 50km walk. The women’s marathon will consist of Rasa Drazdauskaite, Diana Lobacevske and Vaida Zusinaite. Drazdauskaite will compete in her third Olympics while Lobacevske will compete in her second. The men’s marathon will be ran by Valdes Dopolskas and Remigijus Kancys.

In the track and field portions of athletics Zinaida Sendriute will compete in her third Olympics in the women’s discus throw. Other returning Olympians include 2012 Olympians Airine Palsyte, gold medalist at the 2015 Universiade Games in the women’s high jump. Also returning for her second Olympics after missing out in 2012 is 2008 Olympian Egle Balciunaite whom will compete in the women’s 800m. Rounding out the team is Andrius Gudzius whom will compete in the men’s discus.

Lithuania will be sending four boats to compete in sprint canoeing. 2015 European Games gold medalist Henrikas Zustautas will represent the team in the men’s C1 200m. Also competing are 2015 European Championship bronze medalists Ignas Navakauskas in the men’s K1 200m and the men’s K2 200m boat consisting of Aurimas Lankas and Edvinas Ramanauskas. Rounding out the team are Ricardas Nekriosius and Andrej Olijnik in the men’s K2 1000m boat.

The cycling team will be led by veteran Simona Krupeckaite whom will compete in her fourth Olympics in the women’s sprint and keirin. On the road the team will be led by 2015 World Championship bronze medalist Ramunas Navardauskas whom will compete in his second Olympics in the men’s road race. Also competing in the event is Ignatas Konovalovas whom will compete in his third Olympics (2004, 2008). Daiva Tuslaite will compete in the women’s road race.

Other athletes to look out for include 2014 Weightlifting World Championship bronze medalist Aurimas Didzbalis (men’s -94kg) and 2014 Wrestling World Championship bronze medalist and 2012 Olympian Edgaras Venckaitis (men’s Greco-Roman -66kg).

Other returning Olympians include 2012 Olympian Juozas Bernotas (sailing, men’s RS:X) and 2008 Olympic silver medalist and 2012 Olympian Gintare Scheidt (sailing, women’s laser radial).

Other sports Lithuania will compete in include; artistic gymnastics (Robert Tvorogal, men’s events), judo (Santa Pakenyte, women’s +78kg), shooting (Ronaldas Racinskas, men’s skeet) and tennis (Ricardas Berankis, men’s singles).

Overall Lithuania will compete with 67 athletes in 15 sports. This will be their second largest group heading into the Olympics. Unlike some nations Lithuania’s medal chances are over a number of sports, including, but not limited to; basketball, modern pentathlon, rowing and swimming.

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