SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) – Irish track long distance runner Yared Nuguse qualified for the Olympics in the 1500m back on June 28, after an insane stretch where in the last 200 meters… Nuguse moved up from sixth to third to finish with a time of 3:36.19.
He still can’t believe it.
“It’s still something that doesn’t even seem real yet,” Nuguse said.
Nuguse is an Olympian and is training for the 2020 games here in South Bend, but it still hasn’t set in.
“I am sure I won’t feel it until I get there and then I’m like, ‘this is actually happening,’” Nuguse said.
It’s happening. Nuguse will rep the Red, White and Blue on the global stage at the Olympics, and he never even thought about what it would mean to run for Team USA at the highest level until his sophomore year at Notre Dame.
“It’s a pretty recent dream of mine,” Nuguse said. “I wasn’t a kid who grew up wanting to do it their whole life or anything.
He also says this recent dream would not have come true if the COVID-19 pandemic did not happen. Nuguse says the time off pushed him to focus on becoming the best runner he could be.
“With COVID and all, I think there was a big drive to do more and be better,” Nuguse said. “With that extra year, and now that it’s in 2021, I think I was ready to go to the Olympics.”
Nuguse believes the reason he is running in Tokyo is due in part to his mentality on the track.
“No matter the result if you put everything out there, you are going to have a good time,” Nuguse said. “That’s mostly what I am out here to do.”
In Tokyo, all Nuguse will be trying to do is qualify for the 1500m final. He says if he can do that, who knows what will happen.
“Whoever has the best kick can medal,” Nuguse said. “I think I have a very solid kick myself. Hopefully the main goal is to get to the final. If we get there, just have fun and hopefully we can do something amazing.”
Nuguse has accomplished several amazing feats. He’s a NCAA record holder in the 1500m, a national champion and, now, he’s an Olympian. However, those don’t come close to his favorite accomplishment.
“This is probably kind of nerdy but graduating cum laude, that was like a big highlight of my senior year,” Naguse said. “Just realizing I was able to get that achievement. Just to do that was pretty amazing.”
With the Notre Dame degree, Nuguse plans to go to dental school whenever he is done running to become an orthodontist.
But, right now, his focus is all on the Olympics. He will train in South Bend until he leaves for Tokyo for his race on August 3.
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