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Lincoln couple cheer on grandson in Tokyo Olympics

Published: Jul. 30, 2021 at 10:25 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 31, 2021 at 12:27 AM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) -Team USA has more than 600 athletes in the Olympics, and one of those athletes has grandparents living in the Capital City. They were glued to the TV on Friday evening as their 28-year-old grandson competed for what would be his first medal.

Kevin McDowell is competing in his first Olympic games. he’s already placed sixth in the Triathlon this week, which is the highest an American man has ever placed in Olympic Triathlons. Friday night he and three teammates competed in the Triathlon Mixed Relay, an event that’s making its debut at the Tokyo Olympics.

A typical evening for Kay and Carlene Rising consists of watching the news and reading. This week their routine has changed.

6,000 miles from the Tokyo Olympics with a custom flag hanging on their balcony, the Risings are cheering their grandson Kevin in the Triathlon Mixed Relay.

“He is our first grandchild and our favorite grandson,” said Kay. “Course he’s the only grandson.”

McDowell’s part of a four-person relay team. Two men and two women. Each person swims 300 meters, bikes almost five miles and runs a little more than a mile.

This is McDowell’s first Olympics but it isn’t the only challenge he’s had to overcome.

“Did his first professional race when he was 18,” said Kay. “He came home and was talking to his folks about the race and his mom asked what that lump on his throat was.”

According to Kay, his grandson was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. He did six months of treatment and is now 10 years cancer free.

Now Kevin’s an Olympic medalist as Team USA took silver in the Mixed Relay. But his grandparents said they don’t care how he finished, they’re always proud.

“I’m more proud of him as the man he’s become, but this is quite an honor that he’s worked hard for,” said Kay.

The Team Kevin Tokyo 2020 shirt that his grandfather was wearing, they planned on selling 50 of them. Instead they sold over 350. The proceeds are going to “Cal’s Angels”, an organization for children with cancer that helped Kevin when he was sick.

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