SYMMONDS HEADS TO OLYMPICS
Media from coast to coast are abuzz this week about Willamette University alumnus Nick Symmonds' exciting win in the men's 800-meter final at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials. Symmonds '06, running for the Oregon Track Club/Nike, ran a personal best of 1:44.10, earning him a trip to the Olympic Games in Beijing this summer.
Symmonds was in sixth place with 100 meters remaining, but worked his way to the lead using his trademark powerful kick. Hundreds of media outlets in print, on television and on the web are talking about the dramatic ending and the fact that all three top finishers had Oregon ties. Symmonds won by almost one second over second-place finisher Andrew Wheating from the University of Oregon, and third place went to Christian Smith of the Oregon Track Club/Nike.
The New York Times, the Washington Post, USA Today, and The Oregonian are just a few of the newspapers that covered the race, many noting that Symmonds came from Division III Willamette before going on to national prominence. One Boise, Idaho, TV station said Symmonds "has been proving that college size doesn't matter." ESPN.com noted, "These performances were decibel-aided," in reference to the supportive crowd that was so loud, Symmonds said he couldn't hear himself breathing.
At Willamette, Symmonds majored in biochemistry and won four national titles in the 800 meters and three national championships in the 1,500 meters. He helped the Bearcats earn four Top 10 team finishes in NCAA Division III between 2003 and 2006, including a tie for third place in 2004 and fourth place in 2005.
"It was the perfect college experience," he told the Salem Statesman Journal. "It definitely was a springboard."
Watch the final race:
Read about Symmonds in USA Today: