It is no coincidence that 42 track and field medals (including 17 gold!) were won by (former) student-athletes at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021. College track and field raised many top athletes and is a perfect steppingstone to the top of the sports world.
Do you want to know who these top athletes are and which universities they studied at? Continue reading!
We start with one of the most successful and jolly Dutch sprinters ever, Churandy Martina. This cheerful sprinter from Curacao was a member of the track and field team at the University of Texas, El Paso. Churandy broke the magical 10 second barrier in the 100m for the first time as a student athlete. The milestone was proof to him that he had the potential to play a role as an international athlete. This childhood dream came true and Churandy can look back on a successful career. He participated in five Olympic Games, won three gold European Championship medals, and is the Dutch record holder in the 60m, 100m, 200m, and 4x100m.
Susan Krumins – Kuijken
Besided Martina, here follows more Dutch pride, Susan Krumins. In America better known as ‘Susan Koiken’, as this was her name at that time when she studied at Florida State University. Susan is a middle to long distance runner. From 2006 to 2009, she ran for FSU and won two individual NCAA titles (1500-3000m) in four years, and noted top 3 finishes at NCAA XC Nationals in 2007-2009. After graduating, Susan signed a contract with Nike and had great success as a professional runner. She competed twice in the Olympics and rewarded herself with a silver medal in the 10,000m at the European in Berlin. She ran the race of her life, crossing the finish line barely standing. After this heroic performance, she had gotten the nickname “dying swan”. Check out the race!
As the World Male Athlete of the year in 2022, Armand Gustav “Mondo” Duplantis cannot be left out of this article. Mondo has a dual passport thanks to his American father and Swedish mother. As a freshman, he competed for LSU where he won the NCAA indoor title and set both the indoor and outdoor NCAA collegiate record. As a professional athlete, he has also achieved many titles. Currently Mondo is an Olympic champion (2020), World indoor and outdoor champion (2022), European indoor and outdoor champion (21-22), and winner of the Diamond League circuit (2022). Additionally, he is also the current world record holder indoor and outdoor.
Of course, Sydney McLaughlin is not to be overlooked in this lineup as the rival of Femke Bol. McLaughlin was active as a student-athlete at the University of Kentucky for only one year before becoming a professional athlete with a sponsorship deal with New Balance. Nevertheless, she was able to win the NCAA title and set a new NCAA record in the 400m hurdles as a freshman. Now, at 23 years old, Sydney holds the world record in this event. With a time of 50.68, she made history in Eugene by breaking the world record and winning the world championship title. In addition to being a multiple world champion in both the 400m hurdles and the 4x400m relay, Sydney also became an Olympic Champion for the first time in both of these events at the Tokyo 2021 Olympic games.
The next athlete is one of the few sprinters ever who can claim to have won a race against Usain Bolt. Coleman began his track and field career at the University of Tennessee, where he won 5 NCAA titles (indoor and outdoor) and set American Collegiate Records in the 100m and 60m. As a Tennessee alumni, he signed a contract with Nike, after which he became double world champion in 2019 in the 100m and 4x100m relay. He also holds the world record in the 60m indoor with a time of 6.34s.
In short, many top international athletes began their athletic careers as part of a college track and field team. Do you participate in athletics, and can you picture yourself competing and studying at an American university? Then fill out this form and we will contact you as soon as possible!