Razorbacks in Rio

The University of Arkansas has more athletes participating in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro than many countries and among the roster of Razorbacks are scholastic all-stars.

Seventeen current and former members of the Arkansas men’s and women’s track and field and golf programs are competing for their individual countries. The track and field competitions began Friday and go into full swing this week.

Arkansas’ track and field program is one of the top in the country, with women’s track clinching the NCAA title this year and the men’s program ranked among the top three in the nation.

The program tops the nation in academic rankings as well, with the women’s track and field team being named Indoor Scholar Team of the Year by the U.S. Track and Field Cross Country Coaches Association for having the highest team GPA of the teams at the NCAA Division I Championships.

Pole vault powerhouse Lexi Weeks, who topped Arkansas’ scholarly roster as Indoor and Outdoor Scholar Field-Athlete of the Year, is part of the U of A’s Olympians representing Team USA. She is a graduate of Cabot High School and holds a 4.0 as a chemistry major. Sandi Morris, who joins Weeks on the Olympic pole vault team, received the honor last year.

Arkansas at the Olympics by the numbers

  • 18 – Medals earned at the Games
  • 15 – Different event entries in 2016
  • 10 – Razorback NCAA National Champions in Rio
  • 9 – Streak of Olympic Games with Arkansas track and field representation
  • 6 – Members of coaching staff with one or more athletes competing
  • 5 – Most medals won at one Olympic Games
  • 3 – 2016 World Leaders

Up First

Recent graduates Jarrion Lawson (long jump) and Dominique Scott (10K) were the first to take the stage at the Olympic Stadium Friday for Team USA and Team South Africa, respectively.

Lawson ranks No. 1 in the world this season off his personal best performance of 8.58m/28-1 1/2 which he marked at the 2016 US Olympic Trials. Scott heads into the 10K among the top-30 best performers this year and will look to improve upon her current PR of 31 minutes, 56.84 seconds in the event.

Marathoner Christine Kalmer will take her turn on Sunday, Aug. 14, racing 26.2 miles for South Africa alongside the world’s most elite distance runners. 

Jarion Lawson

Jarion Lawson

Dominique Scott

Dominique Scott

Christine Kalmer

Christine Kalmer

Razorback Islanders

The Jamaican and Trinidad U of A contingent including Kemoy Campbell (5K), Veronica Campbell-Brown (200, 400 relay), Omar McLeod (110 hurdles), Sparkle McKnight (400 hurdles) and Clive Pullen (triple jump) kick off competition the week of Aug. 15 with qualifying rounds of their respective events.

Like his former Arkansas teammate Lawson, McLeod also leads the world in his event as the only hurdler to clock a time under 13 seconds (12.98) in the 110 hurdles this year. A strong candidate for an Olympic medal McLeod enters Rio as the reigning World Indoor Champion in the 60 hurdles.

While most of Arkansas’ Olympic entries are first-year competitors the most decorated Razorback Olympian Campbell-Brown will attempt to add two more medals to her collection of seven.

Kemoy Campbell

Kemoy Campbell

Veronica Campbell-Brown

Veronica Campbell-Brown

Omar McLeod

Omar McLeod

Sparkle McKnight

Sparkle McKnight

Clive Pullen

Clive Pullen

Triple Threat

The Razorbacks will have three chances at a medal in the pole vault which will feature three former and current NCAA Champions in Sandi Morris (USA), Tina Sutej (Slovenia) and Lexi Weeks (USA).

Morris is Arkansas’ third world leader, heading into the event with a personal best of 4.93m/16-2 (American record) which she vaulted this past July at the American Track League meet in Houston, Texas. Sutej and Weeks both have PR clearances of 4.70m/15-5 or better.

Sandi Morris

Sandi Morris

Tina Sutej

Tina Sutej

Lexi Weeks

Lexi Weeks

USA and Relays

A two-time NCAA champion with Arkansas’ 1,600 and DMR relay teams, Chrishuna Williams, will seek solo success for Team USA in the 800, racing the qualifying rounds on Wednesday, Aug. 17.

Fellow Team USA delegates Taylor Ellis-Watson and Tyson Gay head to Rio as contributing members of the women’s 4-x-400 and men’s 4-x-100 relay teams, respectively. Both narrowly missed individual berths in the 400 and 100 open races Ellis-Watson and Gay rank inside the top-20 in the world – the former in ninth with a quarter-mile best of 50.25.

Chrishuna Williams

Chrishuna Williams

Taylor Ellis-Watson

Taylor Ellis-Watson

Tyson Gay

Tyson Gay

Golf

Golf returned to the Olympic games this year for the first time since 1904. The U of A’s Stacy Lewis plays for Team USA and Gaby Lopez represents Mexico in women’s golf at the games. David Lingmerth played for Team Sweden, his home country’s team. The men’s competition wrapped up Sunday and women’s golf begins this week.

Razorbacks in Rio Listed by Country

United States

  • Stacy Lewis – Golf
  • Jarrion Lawson – Long Jump
  • Sandi Morris – Pole Vault
  • Lexi Weeks – Pole Vault
  • Taylor Ellis-Watson – 4X400 Relay
  • Tyson Gay – 4X100 Relay
  • Chishuna Williams – 800 Meter

Jamaica

  • Kemoy Campbell – 5,000 Meter
  • Veronica Campbell-Brown – 200 Meters, 4X100 Relay
  • Omar McLeod – 110 Hurdles
  • Clive Pullen – Triple Jump

Mexico

  • Gaby Lopez – Golf

Slovenia

  • Tina Sutej – Pole Vault

South Africa

  • Dominique Scott – 10,000 Meter
  • Christine Kalmer – Marathon

Sweden

  • David Lingmerth – Golf

Trinidad and Tobago

  • Sparkle McKnight – 400 Hurdles