University News

Thunderbirds Chase The Olympic Road To Rio

Published: July 06, 2016 | Author: Chanel Barnes | Category: Athletics

Thunderbirds Chase The Olympic Road To RioThe Rio 2016 Olympic games are looming on the horizon, as the Opening Ceremonies are slated to take place in Rio de Janeiro on August 5, and several Thunderbirds from the cross country and track and field teams are gearing up to either be apart of the event or qualify to get there.

Former Bowerman Trophy winner and 2012 Olympian Cam Levins will be lacing up at the Canadian Olympic Trials on July 7, where he has hopes of qualifying for the games in Rio in both the 5,000-meter and the 10,000-meter.

Two current members of the Thunderbird cross country and track and field teams will also be competing in the Canadian Olympic Trials, as both Mike Tate and Ibrahim Ahmed have their eyes on a spot on the Olympic team.  

Tate, who is already set to represent Canada at the NACAC U23 Championships, will be running the 5,000-meter and the 1,500-meter at the Olympic Trials, while Ahmed will be competing in the 5,000-meter.

Another former Thunderbird will be attempting to make it to Rio, but as a member of the Brazilian Olympic team. Carlos Valley, who was a four-time Conference Champion and NCAA Regional Qualifier, is hoping to represent his country on the biggest stage.

A couple former T-Bird athletes will take the road to Rio as coaches.

Nathan Ott, who is currently a coach at Northern Arizona, and Greg Watson, who is coaching at Kansas State, will both be coaching athletes through the Olympic Trials. Both coaches were Conference Champions as athletes during their time as Thunderbirds.

People can be involved in the Olympics in a handful of ways. For former T-Bird Jason Blackham, that means working with athletes from a medical standpoint. Blackham, who was an SUU athlete from 1997-2001, has been selected by the United States Olympic Committee to be a physician for team USA in Rio.  

Jason’s wife, Merrilee Blackham, was also involved in the Olympic process, as she qualified and competed in the USA Olympic trials for the marathon in February.

For all things SUU Track and Field you can follow @SUUTrackandxc on Twitter and Instagram and like the Southern Utah Track and XC page on Facebook.


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