GREENSBORO, N.C. – Former UNCG track star Paul Chelimo made history Saturday night as he became the first Spartan all-time to qualify for the Olympics by finishing third overall in the 5,000-meter race in the U.S. Olympic Trials. Chelimo will be part of the U.S.A. National Team in the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Chelimo ran an aggressive race in the 5,000-meter final at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore., holding off a late push for the final Olympic spot by 0.06 seconds (Erick Jenkins) as the top three qualified. He posted a time of 13:35.92 to finish behind Bernard Lagat (13:35.50) and Hassan Mead (13:35.70). He ran his final lap in 53:59 and was never lower than fourth place through the duration of the race.
Chelimo, a native of Chebiemit, Kenya, is now a U.S. citizen after being part of the Army’s World Class Athlete Project. He was a two-time national runner-up in the 5,000-meters in the NCAA Outdoor Track Championships and is the most decorated track athlete in UNCG history. He also was a three-time Southern Conference cross country champion and was a six-time All-America recipient during his career.