The only Eugene native competing at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials placed third Sunday in the women's racewalk. But it wasn't enough to earn her a spot on the U.S. Olympic team.
At 7:30 Sunday morning, about 400 people took advantage of the free admission and free coffee to cheer on hometown favorite Erin Gray as she competed in the women's 20-kilometer racewalk -- 50 circuits of the track.
Gray hoped to meet the "Olympic A" standard to almost certainly guarantee herself a spot on the U.S. team, but the walkers fell off the pace early in the race. Consequently it turned into a head-to-head battle for first.
Gray led a good portion of the race.
"With like nine to 10 laps to go, I thought, I can definitely do this," she says. "But three laps later it was like the bottom just fell out."
Gray dropped back and finished third. After the race she greeted her fans with a humble smile, already looking ahead.
"I wish I had been first, but four years from now, who knows? I'll be fitter and stronger, and I'll kick everybody's butt."
Gray will be busy with more than just training the next few years. She starts medical school this fall at Western University of Health Sciences in Lebanon.
Copyright 2012 KLCC