Kansas Relays Well Represented on Team USA for 2012 Olympics
July 25, 2012
LONDON - As the Games of the XXX Olympiad kick off later this week in England, Team USA will feature a total 33 track and field athletes who have competed in the Kansas Relays. Headlining the group are 2012 downtown shot put champion Reese Hoffa, 2006 100-meter champion and Kansas Relays record-holder Allyson Felix and KU's star sprinter Diamond Dixon.
Ten U.S. athletes heading to London took part in this year's Kansas Relays, including three of the top four American finishers of the Downtown Shot Put event. Champion of the 2012 competition Reese Hoffa, three-time Relays shot put champion and 2008 silver medalist Christian Cantwell and 2012 World Indoor champion Ryan Whiting each head to London after nabbing the top three spots at the U.S. Team Trials in June. The Olympic shot put will take place August 3 with the all three American throwers favorites to earn medals.
A total of seven downtown shot putters will compete in the Olympics including the 2011 downtown champion, Canada's Dylan Armstrong, fellow-Canadian Justin Rhode, Jamaica's Dorian Scott, Croatia's NedÂÂžad Mulabegoviæ and the three Americans.
The winner of this year's downtown long jump event will also be shooting for Gold next week in London. Janay DeLoach, who won the April competition in Lawrence with a leap of 6.61 meters (21-8.25 ft.), heads into the Olympics as the seventh-ranked long jumper in the world this year and will try to bring home her first Olympic medal.
DeeDee Trotter, the winner of one of the more exciting Kansas Relays races of 2012, will represent the red, white and blue in the 400 meters. Trotter claimed victory in a Kansas Relays record of 50.94 earlier this year, outpacing the 2011 Relays champion, KU's Diamond Dixon, who will also suit up for the U.S. as a member of the 4x400-meter relay team.
Other members of Team USA who began their 2012 outdoor seasons in Lawrence include Nick Symmonds (4th in the mile) who will run in the 800 meters in London; Jeff Porter (2nd in the 110m hurdles) who punched his ticket to London with his third-place finish at the U.S. Olympic Trials last month; Jeremy Scott (2nd in pole vault) who was the national runner-up this year at the Trials; and Jason Young (3rd in discus) who is the second-ranked American in the discus this year.
Several high profile 2012 U.S. Olympic athletes have seen action in past Kansas Relays including international superstars Tyson Gay, Justin Gatlin and Allyson Felix. Gay is the American record holder in the 100 meters (9.69) and kicked off his career at Barton Country Community College in Great Bend, Kan. He finished third in the 200 meters at the 2003 Kansas Relays and helped win the 4x200-meter relay that same year. Gatlin is America's best chance for Gold in the 100 meters as he has the third-fastest time in the world this year. He anchored the winning men's 4x100-meter relay in 2006, which smashed the Kansas Relays record at 38.16 and still stands today. Felix has been a force in sprinting for the American women over the past four years. She will compete in both the 100 meters and 200 meters in London and will likely run in at least one relay over the next two weeks. Felix also broke a Kansas Relays record in 2006, winning the 100 meters in her first individual appearance in the event.
The 2012 Olympic Games will officially kick off Friday, July 27 with the opening ceremony inside Olympic Stadium in downtown London. NBC will begin coverage of the event at 6:30 p.m. (CT). Track and field events start August 3 and continue through August 12 and will be shown on the NBC family of networks. Click this link for a complete schedule and TV listings for specific events.