Thurmond London-Bound For 4th Olympics
June 24, 2012
U.S. TRACK & FIELD OLYMPIC TRIALS
EUGENE, Ore. - Sixteen years after making her first U.S. Olympic Team, Aretha Thurmond only continues to add to her legacy, as the Husky Hall of Famer qualified for her fourth Olympics today with a second-place finish in the discus at Hayward Field. Thurmond is the most decorated Husky track athlete in history in terms of Olympic competitions.
Her career has been remarkably consistent over the past decade, as Thurmond has made every Team USA for the Olympics or World Championships since 2003, with the one exception being in 2007 when she placed sixth at USA's just two weeks after giving birth to her son.
She'll be looking on improving on her 2008 Beijing finish, which saw her place 10th overall, her best thus far in her three previous Olympiads.
Thurmond, a four-time All-American as Aretha Hill from 1995-98, wasted little time today getting a big mark on the board. With her first toss, she threw 203-feet, 6-inches, already figuring to be enough to make the team. That was second early on behind Stephanie Brown-Trafton, the 2008 Olympic gold medalist and American record-holder. On her fifth attempt, Thurmond improved to 204-2.
"For me the key to longevity is taking care of yourself. It's training smart," said Thurmond. "It's just been an awesome ride. I think competing at this level has made me a better person. I'm just overwhelmed having been able to do this for this long, and it still excites me."
Former Husky Norris Frederick was hoping to punch his ticket today as well, but it wasn't quite to be. Frederick had a strong jump of 26-feet, 1-inch on his fourth attempt, which moved him up to fifth-place overall, but he was unable to improve on that on his final two jumps. Frederick would have needed a career-best 27-foot jump to make the team.
Current junior Logan Miller competed in the pole vault, but was unable to clear the opening height of 13-11 1/4. She wasn't alone, as 12 women no heighted at the challenging first bar.
Over in London early this morning, junior James Alaka saw his Olympic dreams end in frustration, and a bit of pain, as he was unable to advance to the final of the 200-meters at the British Trials. Alaka ran 21.19 and said he wasn't sure the day before the race if he'd be able to start due to an injury.
Monday will be another busy day for UW athletes in Eugene prior to the two-day rest period. The qualifying rounds take place in the men's discus, featuring Will Conwell, and the men's pole vault, featuring Brad Walker and Scott Roth. Katie (Follett) Mackey will also go in the prelims of the women's 5,000-meters.