Ex-Collegians And Prepsters From Northwest Win Summer Olympic Berths

Jun 25, 2012

A dark horse in the sprints. A mother who’s competed at three prior Olympics. And a former NCAA pole vault champion from the University of Oregon. Those are your three newest U.S. Olympians with Northwest ties. Correspondent Tom Banse has their stories from the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for track and field in Eugene.

A little-known sprinter from Salem, Oregon leaned at the tape to edge out more famous track stars in the hundred meter dash. Ryan Bailey struggled to find the words to describe how it felt to finish third and to secure a trip to the London Olympics.

Bailey: “I don’t even know what to say. I’m still taking it all in.”

Also punching her ticket to London is former University of Oregon Duck Becky Holliday. She finished second in the pole vault at the Olympic Trials. The same placement in the discus earned former University of Washington Husky Aretha Thurmond a fourth consecutive appearance in the Summer Olympics. At age 35, what accounts for her longevity?

Thurmond: “It’s training smart. It’s eating well, sleeping good, working with the right people.”

In other Summer Olympics news, the U-S rowing team that’s headed to London is stacked with University of Washington alumni. Six former Husky rowers secured spots on the team after final selections were announced late Friday. Meanwhile in suburban Seattle, no divers from the Northwest qualified for London at their Olympic Trials, which wrapped up Sunday. Next of local interest could be the Olympic Trials in swimming, which start today in Omaha.

Copyright 2012 Northwest Public Radio