It is undeniably true that Erik Kynard is certainly worthy of the extensive coverage we’ve given him. As the 6th-ranked high jumper in the world, he is KSU’s best hope for an Olympic medal. Having covered both his NCAA season, as well as his pursuit of a place on the United States 2012 Olympic Team, it is important to note that he is not the only K-Stater to be representing their country in London this summer. Five others will represent their respective countries in track & field during the upcoming week.
Interestingly, Kynard is not even the only member of KSU’s 2012 team to make it to London. Jeffrey Julmis, who graduated from Kansas State in May of this year, is representing his home country of Haiti. The 65th-ranked hurdler in the world, Julmis won the Big 12 indoor championship in the 60M Hurdles. The preliminary hurdles rounds begin at 4 AM CDT on August 7, with the semifinals to follow later that day at 1:15 PM CDT. The finals will be held the next day at 1:15 PM CDT.
Outside of Kynard, KSU’s best hope for a track & field medal comes from 2002 graduate Austra Skujyte. The 8th-ranked female heptathlete in the world, Skujyte has already experienced the thrill of the Olympic medal stand. Representing her native country of Lithuania in 2004, she earned a silver medal, with a then-personal best score of 6,435 points. This season, she has improved her personal best to 6,493 points, in the process becoming the first woman in history to compete as a heptathlete in four Olympic games. Entering the final event (8ooM Run) today, Skujyte currently sits in second place, behind only Jessica Ennis of Great Britain. As the 800M Run is one of Skujyte’s weaker events, it is not a given that she will finish on the medal stand. The event will be run later today, at 2:35 PM CDT.
Skujyte’s fellow Lithuanian Darius Draudvila joins Skujyte on the Lithuanian Olympic Team. Draudvila, a 2005 graduate of KSU and the 38th-ranked decathlete in the world, is currently serving as a volunteer assistant coach at Wichita State University. Day 1 of competition in the decathlon begins for Draudvila at 4:10 AM on August 8.
Finally, in Women’s Steeplechase, K-State had two alumni competing. Beverly Ramos, a 2012 KSU graduate, represented Puerto Rico, while Korene Hinds (Class of 2001) competed for her home country of Jamaica. While Hinds ran a season best time of 9:37.95, it was only good enough for 10th in her heat. (In Steeplechase, the top four in each of three heats of 15 automatically qualify for the finals. The three top times of those who finish outside the top 4 in their heat also advance.) Hinds finished 7 seconds off of the final qualifiers time, while Ramos finished only 12th in her heat, her time of 9:55.26 well off her season and personal best 9:39.33.
Visit KStateSports.com’s 2012 London Olympics page for more information on all of the athletes, as well as links to their official Olympic bios.