Where Track and Field Legends Went to College

Find out which schools sent their athletic alums running toward stardom.

By Sydney Nikols | April 15, 2014

Track and field are some of the oldest sporting competitions in human history. The sport has its roots in the original Olympic games in ancient Greece.
Photo: Usatf.org

Before reaching the top level in their sport, track and field athletes tend to hone their skills in college. Impressively, the athletes listed below broke records for Team USA at the Olympic games in 2012. Check out the five schools they attended before hitting it big.

1. University of Oregon

Athletes: Ashton Eaton, Galen Rupp

Though these athletes are all Olympic contenders, their careers began in college.

Galen Rupp, who graduated from the University of Oregon in 2009, boasts the best USA performance in the 10,000 meter event since 1964; it earned him a silver medal in the 2012 Olympic games. Similarly, Ashton Eaton, who graduated in 2010, won a gold medal for breaking a record in the 2012 Olympic decathlon event in London. We’re not shocked these athletes chose the University of Oregon -- its Hayward Field is one of the most famous track and field facilities in the world, attracting athletes, fans and coaches from all over.

Ashton won gold in the 2012 London Olympics.

2. University of Oklahoma

Athlete: Brittany Borman

After transferring from University of California, Los Angeles, Brittany Borman graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 2012. Impressively, this is the same year she busted out the best Olympic javelin performance ever seen by an American woman. Though UCLA also has a highly regarded track and field program, Brittany hardly made a mistake by transferring schools -- the Oklahoma Sooners have earned 38 NCAA titles, 426 conference titles and 17 team conference championships.

Though Brittany Borman didn't qualify for the final at the 2012 Olympics, she is sponsored by Nike. Who needs gold when you can get paper?
Photo: Zimbio.com

3. University of Tennessee

Athletes: Justin Gatlin, DeeDee Trotter

Justin Gatlin attended the University of Tennessee from 2000 to 2002 before going on to win four gold medals, one silver medal and two bronze medals, all in the 100- and 200-meter categories. Another impressive alum is DeeDee Trotter -- after graduating in 2005 with a degree in criminal justice, she went on to join the professional ranks, scoring a gold medal in the 2012 Olympics in London. Volunteering their time for the Tennessee Volunteers couldn’t have felt like a chore for Justin and DeeDee; the track and field program is currently ranked in the nation’s top 25.

Justin Gatlin has five Olympic medals: one gold, two silver and two bronze.

4. Colorado College

Athlete: Trevor Barron

Trevor Barron has proven once and for all that great athletes can come out of small liberal arts colleges. At nineteen years old, Barron was the youngest member of Team USA at the 2012 Olympics, where he broke records in the race walk competition. We can see why Barron chose Colorado College, where he’s set to graduate from in 2015. The school’s track and field program may not be Division I, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have merit: Head coach Ted Castaneda is one of the best 10,000-meter runners in all of U.S. history.

Trevor Barron is a competitive race walker who broke records at the 2012 Summer Olympics. Race walking is different from running in that one foot must be on the ground at all times.

5. University of South Carolina

Athlete: Lashinda Demus

After graduating from the University of South Carolina in 2005, Lashinda Demus went on to win a silver medal for hurdling in the 2012 Olympics. We wonder how that Olympic track compared to the impressive Weems Baskin Track at her alma mater -- it features eight lanes, world-class throwing facilities, a special vaulting area, and spectator seating for 2,200 people. We’re guessing this impressive facility helped boost the women’s track and field program to 15th place in the USTFCCCA rankings.

Lashinda Demus won a silver in the 2012 London Olympics.

If you have a need for speed, run -- don’t walk -- to one of these five schools. And bring a good pair of sneakers.

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