Seven track athletes with connections to the state will compete in London, including Olympics No. 4 for discus thrower Aretha Hill Thurmond.
Sportspress Northwest offers the final in a series of biographical sketches of athletes with significant ties to the state who are competing in the Olympic Games.
Bernard Lagat, formerly of Washington State University, is the most recent state-based athlete to win a track medal (2004). Washington will be represented by seven track and field athletes in London.
2012 TRACK OLYMPIANS
EBBA JUNGMARK / Washington State University
BORN: March 10, 1987, Onsala, Sweden. RESIDENCE: Gothenburg, Sweden. SPORT: Track. EVENT: High Jump. COUNTRY: Sweden. OLYMPICS (2nd): 2008, 2012. STATE CONNECTION: Washington State University.
Ebba Anna Jungmark is a Swedish high jumper who distinguished herself at Washington State University by winning the 2008 NCAA Indoor Championship. Her personal best is 6-4 1/4, achieved at the 2011 European Athletics Indoor Championships in Paris. Jungmark most recently the silver medal at the 2012 IAAF World Indoor Championships in Istanbul.
CAREER: Before enrolling at WSU she high jumped 6-3 1/2 June 10, 2007 at Kil, Sweden, winning a bronze medal. . . Competed for Sweden at the 2007 IAAF World Championships in Osaka and finished 11th in high jump after clearing 6-2 (8/31/07) . . . At the 2006 IAAF World Junior Championships cleared high jump at 6-0 1/2 for fifth place (8/20/06, Beijing)… 2005 Swedish Youth Outdoors Champion (Söderhamn)…2006 (Västerås) and 2007 (Nyköping) Swedish Junior National Champion.
She finished fifth at the 2006 World Junior Championships, won the bronze medal at the 2007 European U23 Championships, and competed at the 2007 World Championships without reaching the final.
PERSONAL: Father Owe is a builder for Jungmarks Bygg Corporation . . . Mother Eva is a strategist for the local government . . . Has one brother, Johan . . . Enjoys animals, spending time with friends and going to the movies.
BERNARD LAGAT/ Washington State University
BORN: Dec. 12, 1974, Kapsabet, Kenya. RESIDENCE: Tucson. SPORT: Track. EVENT: 1,500 meters. COUNTRY: USA. OLYMPICS (4th): 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012. HOW QUALIFIED: Finished second at the U.S. Olympic Trials. STATE CONNECTION: Attended Washington State University, graduating in 2000.
Lagat, who ran for the Cougars from the mid-to-late 1990s, is the American record holder in the 1,500 meters, mile, 3,000 meters, and 5,000 meters indoors, as well as the 1,500 meters, 3,000 meters, and 5,000 meters outdoors, and is the Kenyan record holder at 1,500 outdoors. Lagat is a 12-time medalist in World Championships and Olympics, including five gold medals.
OLYMPICS: Won a bronze medal at 1,500 meters at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney and a silver medal at the same distance at the 2004 Games in Athens.
CAREER: Three-time World Indoor 3,000-meter gold medalist 2004 (7:56.34); 2010 (7:37.97); 2012 (7:41.44) . . . 2007 World Outdoor 1,500-meter (3:34.77) and 5,000-meter (13:45.87) gold medalist . . . Two-time World Outdoor 5,000-meter silver medalist 2009 (13:17.33); 2011 (13:23.64) . . . Four-time USA Outdoor 5,000 meter champion 2006 (13:14.32); 2007 (13:45.87); 2008 (13:27.47); 2010 (13:54.08); 2011 (13:23.06) . . . Two-time USA Indoor 3,000-meter champion 2010 (8:12.60); 2011 (7:57.17) . . . Two-time USA Outdoor 1,500-meter champion – 2006 (3:39.29); 2008 (3:40.37) . . . Eight-time winner of the Wanamaker Mile at New York’s Millrose Games.
WASHINGTON STATE: 1999 NCAA Indoor mile (3:55.65) and 3,000m (7:54.92) champion . . . 1999 NCAA Outdoor 5,000-meter champion (14:01.09) . . . 11-time NCAA All-American in cross country and track and field . . . 1999 NCAA Indoor Male Athlete of the Year . . . 1999 Pac-10 Mens Track & Field Co-Athlete of the Year.
PERSONAL: Holds a degree in management information systems from Washington State . . . Came to the U.S. in 1996 and became an American citizen in 2007 . . . Married to Gladys Tom; one son (Miika Kimutai Lagat) and one daughter (Gianna) . . . Grew up on his family’s farm in Kapsabet, Kenya.
HALEY NEMRA / Marysville-Pilchuck High School
BORN: April 10, 1989 RESIDENCE: San Francisco. SPORT: Track. EVENT: 800 meters. COUNTRY: Marshall Islands. OLYMPICS (2nd): 2008, 2012. HOW QUALIFIED: Olympic Trials. STATE CONNECTION: Graduated from Marysville-Pilchuck High School
Nemra, who represented the Marshall Islands at 800 meters in the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, will encore in London after running collegiately for the University of San Francisco the past four years. At Marysville-Pilchuk, Nemra finished 20th at the 2007 4A Washington State Cross Country Championships and 19th at the 2007 Borderclash.
On the track, placed fifth in the 800 and 6th in the 1600 at the 2008 4A state championships. She had prep personal bests of 2:13 (800), 5:00 (1600) and 11:05 (3200).
COLLEGE: — 2011: Redshirt. 2010: Finished fourth in the 800 meters in 2:15.58 at the Johnny Mathis Invitational . . . Placed fifth in the 800 at the Stanford Opener. 2009: Finished second in the 800 meters at the Aggie Open . . . Placed third in 2:17.28 at the Azusa Pacific Invitational.
PERSONAL: Haley’s father is from the Marshall Islands. Haley obtained dual citizenship so that she could participate at the Olympics (the Marshall Islands are northeast of Australia).
KARA PATTERSON / Skyview High, Vancouver.
BORN: April 10, 1986, Seattle. RESIDENCE: Chula Vista, CA. SPORT: Track. EVENT: Javelin. COUNTRY: USA. OLYMPICS (2nd): 2008, 2012. HOW QUALIFIED: Finished second at the Olympic Trials. STATE CONNECTION: 2004 Skyview High School (Vancouver) graduate.
The 6-0, 180-pound Patterson burst upon the American javelin scene in 2008 when she won the first of four U.S. Outdoor Championships, throwing 191-9. On June 25, 2010, competing at the U.S. Outdoor Championships, Patterson set the American record with a throw of 218-9. After leaving Skyview High, Patterson accepted a track scholarship to Purdue, and graduated in 2009. Patterson trains at Chula Vista, CA.
OLYMPICS: Finished 41st in a qualifying round at the 2008 Olympics.
NATIONAL TEAM/CAREER: Qualified for the 2012 Olympics with a throw of 196-2 at Eugene July 1 . . . Won first USA Outdoor title in 2008 (191-9) and added titles in 2009 (209-10), 2010 (218-9) and 2011 (194-8) . . . Two-time NCAA All-America . . . 2008 USTFCCCA Great Lakes Region Womens Field Athlete of the Year . . . 2008 Big Ten Womens Outdoor Field Athlete of the Year . . . 2008 Big Ten Womens Field Athlete of the Championships . . . Two-time First-Team All-Big Ten . . . three-time Academic All-Big Ten (2006-08) . . . 2008 second-team ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District . . . At the 2008 Big Ten Championships, Patterson shattered the Big Ten record and the Boilermakers’ record with a heave of 61.56m/202-0. It was the top throw by an American in 2008, second longest in NCAA history, and second on the U.S. all-time list.
PERSONAL: In high school, Patterson won varsity letters winner in swimming, basketball and track and field, as well as capturing three state javelin titles . . . Hobbies include art, glass blowing, reading, spontaneous travel and movies . . . At Purdue, majored in nutrition, fitness and health.
JARRED ROME / Marysville-Pilchuck High School
BORN: Dec. 21, 1976, Seattle. RESIDENCE: Chula Vista, CA. SPORT: Track. EVENT: Discus. COUNTRY: USA. OLYMPICS (2nd): 2004, 2012. HOW QUALIFIED: Second at Olympic Trials. STATE CONNECTION: Marysville-Pilchuck High School.
The 6-foot-4, 315-pound Rome, a 2000 Boise State graduate, earned his second Olympic roster spot with a throw of 207-10. He faulted three times, but earned his ticket to London on his final throw. Rome was a six-time All-America at Boise State before becoming a member of the USA National Team. He has a career-best throw of 225-7 (2011).
OLYMPICS: Finished 13th at the 2004 Olympics.
CAREER: Two-time USA Outdoor Champion — 2011 (209-11); 2004 (186-6) . . . Two-time USA Outdoor runner-up — 2009 (208-3); 2005 (205-1) . . . Three-time USA Outdoor bronze — 2010 (200-3); 2007 (208-6); 2006 (199-11) . . . Won a silver medal at the 2011 Pan American Games . . . Finished fifth at the 2006 World Athletics Final in Stuttgart, Germany . . . Finished seventh at the 2005 World Championships in Helsinki . . .1997 NCAA Outdoor Championships silver medalist.
PERSONAL: Rome didnt take throwing seriously until he injured his knee during his senior year of high school football . . . Inducted into the Boise State Hall of Fame in 2007 . . . Serves as the head throws coach at Mesa College in San Diego . . . Enjoys camping, hiking, mountain biking and fishing . . . Can bench press more than 175 percent of his body weight with a best of 550 pounds, and can squat more than 225 percent of his body weight with a best of 704 pounds . . . Named the Idaho Athlete of the Year in 1995.
ARETHA HILL THURMOND / Renton High, University of Washington
BORN: Aug. 14, 1976, Seattle. RESIDENCE: Auburn, AL. SPORT: Track. EVENT: Discus. COUNTRY: USA. OLYMPICS (4th): 1996, 2004, 2008, 2012. HOW QUALIFIED: Second at the Olympic Trials. STATE CONNECTION: Renton High School graduate (1994) University of Washington graduate (1998).
Thurmond is just the fourth athlete born in the state to make four Summer Olympic teams, following sprinter Gail Devers (five) in 1988, 1992, 1996, 2000 and 2004; fencer Maxine Mitchell (four) in 1952, 1956, 1960 and 1968; and shooter Matt Dryke (four) in 1980, 1984, 1988 and 1992.
OLYMPICS: Thurmond has never won an Olympic medal. She finished 34th in the qualifying round in 1996 at Atlanta, 19th in a qualifying round at Athens in 2004 and 10th in the final round in 2008.
NATIONAL TEAM/CAREER: Thurmond is a four-time U.S. outdoor champion (2003-04, 06, 08) and a two-time Pan Am Games gold medalist (1999, 2003) . . . Olympic Trials champion in 2008 and also in 2004 . . . In 2011, Thurmond won a silver medal at the Pan Am Games and finished second at the U.S. Championships . . . In 2007, two weeks after giving birth to her first child, she placed fifth at the U.S. Championships . . . She has a lifetime best throw of 216-1, the third-longest throw in U.S. history.
WASHINGTON: Thurmond threw for Washington between 1995-98 and was a four-time All-America. Her Washington best of 215-3 is second-best by a collegian . . . Won Pac-10 discus titles in 1996 and 1998, won two titles at the Penn Relays, another at the Drake Relays and finished second at the U.S. Nationals . . . UW inducted her into the Husky Hall of Fame in 2006.
RENTON HIGH: Thurmond won state discus championships from 1994-96 and the state shot put title in 1994.
PERSONAL: Competed at the UW under her maiden name, Aretha Hill . . . Wanted to play softball in high school, but her physical education teacher wanted her to go out for track . . . They made a bet that if he could beat her in one-on-one basketball, she would give up softball. He won, and she kept her part of the bargain.
BRAD WALKER / University High, University of Washington
BORN: June 21, 1981, Aberdeen, SD. RESIDENCE: Seattle SPORT: Track. EVENT: Pole vault. COUNTRY: USA. OLYMPICS (2nd): 2008, 2012. HOW QUALIFIED: Won Olympic Trials. STATE CONNECTION: University High School (Spokane), 1998; University of Washington (2003).
Walker holds the American record in the pole vault, 19-9 3/4, at the 2008 Steve Prefontaine Classic in Eugene. Three-time USA Outdoor Champion, a four-time World Indoor Champion, a one-time World Outdoor Champion, and a four-time World championship medalist.
OLYMPICS: Failed to clear a height at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing after entering the competition as the favorite.
CAREER: Gold at the 2007 World Championships in Osaka, Japan . . . Silver at the 2005 World Championships in Helsinki . . . Gold at the 2006 World Indoor Championships at Moscow . . . Silver at the 2008 World Indoor Championships at Valencia, Spain . . . Bronze medal at the 2012 World Indoor Championships at Istanbul.
WASHINGTON: In 2003, captured the NCAA indoor pole vault title with a vault of 19-0 1/4, nearly nine inches higher than his nearest competitor, and equaled the winning mark at the 2003 IAAF World Indoor Championships . . . Became the first vaulter in Pac-10 history to clear 19 feet, breaking by three inches the previous Pac-10 record of 18-9 1/4 set by Stanford’s Toby Stevenson in 2000 . . Had a career outdoor best of 18-6 1/2 . . . Recipient of the Pac-10 Medal, awarded to the top male and female student-athletes at each Pac-10 institution . . . Regarded as Washington’s best vaulter since Brian Sternberg, who in 1963 broke the world record twice before a serious injury in a training accident.
PERSONAL: Lettered in football at University High in Spokane . . . Led University High to consecutive state track championships in 1998 and 1999 . . . Graduated from the University of Washington in 2003 with a major in Business Administration . . . Trained for the Olympics on the UW campus.
TRACK MEDALS BY WASHINGTONIANS
GOLD: Mac Wilkins (Tacoma), discus, 1976 Montreal; Julius Korir (WSU), steeplechase, 1984 Los Angeles; Gail Devers (Seattle), 100 meters, 1992 Barcelona; Devers, 100 meters, 400 relay, 1996 Atlanta.
SILVER: Steve Anderson (UW), hurdles, 1928 Amsterdam; Hermix Brix (Tacoma, UW), 1928 Amsterdam; Fortune Gordien (Spokane), discus, 1956 Melbourne; Gabriel Tiacoh (UW), 400 meters, 1984 Los Angeles; Peter Koech (WSU), steeplechase, 1988 Seoul; Bernard Lagat (WSU), 1,500 meters, 2004 Athens.
BRONZE: Gus Pope (UW), discus, 1920 Antwerp; Gordien, discus, 1948 London; Arthur Barnard (Seattle), hurdles, 1952 Helsinki; Sterling Hinds (UW), 400 relay, 1984 Los Angeles; Lagat, 1,500 meters, 2000 Sydney.
Athletes with connections to the state who have qualified (or been selected) for the 2012 Summer Olympic Games.
|Athlete||Sport||Gms. #||Country||State Connection|
|Nathan Adrian||Swimming||2||USA||Bremerton native|
|Scott Baynes||Basketball||1||Australia||WSU grad|
|Sue Bird||Basketball||3||USA||Seattle Storm guard|
|Kim Butler||Basketball||1||G. Britain||Bellarmine Prep|
|Dave Calder||Rowing||4||Canada||University of Washington|
|Will Crothers||Rowing||1||Canada||University of Washington|
|Tyler Farrar||Cycling||1||USA||Wenatchee native|
|Amanda Furrer||Shooting||1||USA||Mead High, Spokane|
|Scott Gault||Rowing||2||USA||University of Washington|
|Rob Gibson||Rowing||1||Canada||University of Washington|
|Lauren Jackson||Basketball||4||Australia||Seattle Storm forward|
|Anthony Jacob||Rowing||1||Canada||University of Washington|
|Ebba Jungmark||Track||2||Sweden||WSU grad|
|Seth Kelsey||Fencing||3||Canada||Brush Prairie|
|Ariana Kukors||Swimming||1||USA||Auburn Mountainview|
|Meagan Kalmoe||Rowing||2||USA||University of Washington|
|Bernard Lagat||Track||4||USA||Washington State University|
|Giuseppe Lanzone||Rowing||2||USA||University of Washington|
|Amy LePeilbet||Soccer||1||USA||Spokane native|
|Adrienne Lyle||Equestrian||1||USA||University of Washington|
|Adrienne Martelli||Rowing||1||USA||University of Washington|
|Arielle Martin||Cycling||1||USA||Spanaway native|
|Conlin McCabe||Rowing||1||Canada||University of Washington|
|Tamari Miyashiro||Volleyball||1||USA||University of Washington|
|Haley Nemra||Track||2||Marshall Is.||Marys.-Pilchuck|
|Brett Newlin||Rowing||2||USA||University of Washington|
|Kara Patterson||Track||2||USA||Seattle native|
|Jennie Reed||Cycling||3||USA||Seattle native|
|Janine Sandell||Volleyball||1||Great Britain||University of Washington|
|Hope Solo||Soccer||2||USA||University of Washington|
|Travis Stevens||Judo||2||USA||Bellevue native|
|Courtney Thompson||Volleyball||1||USA||University of Washington|
|Aretha Thurmond||Track||4||USA||University of Washington|
|Queen Underwood||Boxing||1||USA||Seattle resident|
|Eric Uptagrafft||Shooting||1||USA||Spokane resident|
|Tejay van Garderen||Cycling||1||USA||Tacoma native|
|Brad Walker||Track||2||USA||University of Washington|
|Mary Whipple||Rowing||3||USA||University of Washington|