Connecting you with Alaska athletes.

Alaska’s Alev Kelter headed to her third straight Summer Olympics with the US women’s rugby team

by | Jun 17, 2024 | Cover Story, Rugby

Eagle River’s Alev Kelter. Photo by USA Rugby

The three-peat is complete for Alev Kelter.

The multi-sport marvel from Eagle River earned a third straight trip to the Summer Olympics on Monday when she was named to the 12-woman roster for the U.S. women’s rugby sevens team.

Here’s hoping the third time is the charm.

The Americans are in search of their first Olympic medal as they prepare for the Paris Games, where women’s rugby competition begins July 28.

Kelter, 33, helped the Americans finish fifth at the 2016 Rio Games and sixth at the 2020 Tokyo Games.

She has been a mainstay for the Americans — and one of the best players in the world — for close to a decade. Last month, she became the first American woman and the fifth player in World Rugby Sevens Series history to score 1,000 career points.

A star in hockey and soccer before she discovered rugby, Kelter is one of seven players on the U.S. squad with Olympic experience. She’s one of two three-time Olympians along with Lauren Doyle, who was named a team captain.

“Our goal is not just to compete but to move the jersey forward, leaving a legacy for those to follow, and to deliver a performance that inspires American fans,” U.S. coach Emilie Bydwell said in a statement from USA Rugby.

“… The players complement each other extremely well, enabling individuals to express their strengths and simultaneously bring out the superpowers of those around them and the team.”

During the recently concluded World Rugby SVNS season, Kelter and her teammates made it to the semifinals in three of the season’s eight tournaments and made it to the finals in Hong Kong, where they lost to reigning Olympic champion New Zealand.

Kelter is a center who brings speed, skill and grit to the team. She’s been an athlete all her life and has succeeded in just about everything she tries. At the University of Wisconsin, she was the rare athlete who flourished in two Division I sports — ice hockey and soccer.

After college she was seemingly left adrift after getting cut by the U.S. national hockey team as the 2014 Winter Olympics approached. Then came a surprise phone call from USA Rugby, urging her to try rugby sevens — a sport poised to make its Olympic debut in Rio de Janeiro in 2016. She proved to be a natural.

Kelter has since diversified, adding rugby 15s to her repertoire. She recently signed a contract for the 2024-25 season with the Loughborough Lightning, a Premiership women’s team in England.

Story made possible by:

Black-Smith, Bethard & Carlson

Logo - Residential Mortgage

Family of Sponsors

Advanced Diagnostics, INC | Alaska Airlines | Alaska Oil and Gas Association | Alliance for Support of American Legion Baseball in Alaska | Joe Alston | Arctic Slope Regional Corporation | Aspen Endodontics | Glen Bailey | Kathie Bethard | Black-Smith, Bethard & Carlson, LLC. | BOSCO's | Don Clary & Judy Besh | Zareena and Allen Clendaniel | Continental Auto Group | Joey Caterinichio & Ja Dorris | The Conway Family | Donley Family | Jim & Michelle Hajdukovich | Foley & Pearson | JL Properties | Mark and Jamie Johnson | Kristopher Knauss | Loren Kroon | Dr. Justin Libby, DDS | Jason & Shannon Metrokin | Amy and Jason Miller | Multisport Training of Alaska/Lisa Keller | Rick Mystrom | Kathleen Navarre | Seth Wickersham & Alison Overholt | Dave and DeAnne Rand | R&M Consultants, Inc. | RE/MAX Dynamic Properties Kevin Taylor | Replacement Glass | Residential Mortgage | RSA Engineering- Sarah & A.J. Schirack | Tony and Carla Slaton Barker | Sportclips Haircuts | Alice & Gunnar Knapp | Peter Pounds | Dan Rufner | Harlow Robinson | Pete Robinson | Moria Smith | Taylored Restoration | In memory of Drs. John & Elizabeth Tower | Team Heat | Todd Whited | UAA Seawolves | Don Winchester

Family of Sponsors

Alaska Airlines | Nicole Johnston | Richard Mize | Advanced Diagnostics, INC | Aktive Soles | Alaska Oil and Gas Association | Aspen Endodontics | Black-Smith, Bethard & Carlson, LLC. | BOSCO's | Coho Financial Group | Continental Auto Group | Don Clary & Judy Besh | Glen Bailey | Invisalign-Ben Ward | JL Properties | Joey Caterinichio & Ja Dorris| Kathleen Navarre | Midas Alaska | Moose's Tooth, Bear Tooth and Broken Tooth Brewing | Perkins Coie - Sarah & A.J. Schirack | R&M Consultants, Inc. | RE/MAX Dynamic Properties Kevin Taylor | Residential Mortgage | Seth Wickersham & Alison Overholt | Taylored Restoration | Korndrop Family Foundation | Arctic Slope Regional Corporation | Replacement Glass | Zareena and Allen Clendaniel | Foley & Pearson | UAA Seawolves | Tony and Carla Slaton Barker | Sportclips Haircuts | Alliance for Support of American Legion Baseball in Alaska | Alice & Gunnar Knapp | Amy and Jason Miller | Burgerfi | Charles Fedullo | Dan Rufner | Darren Lieb | Don Winchester | Donley Family | Dr. Justin Libby, DDS | Firetap | Harlow Robinson | Jason & Shannon Metrokin | Jim & Michelle Hajdukovich | Joe Alston | Kathie Bethard | Krispy Kreme | Kristopher Knauss | Loren Kroon | Mark and Jamie Johnson | Mark Silverman | On the Border | Pete Robinson | Rick Mystrom | Team Heat | Team Moriarty | The Conway Family | Todd Whited | Moria Smith | In memory of Drs. John & Elizabeth Tower | Peter Pounds | Multisport Training of Alaska/Lisa Keller | RSA Engineering

Sports Categories