Former Weber State All-American Lindsey Anderson is heading to Beijing. Anderson, now an assistant track coach at Weber State, will be the first former Weber State track and field athlete ever to compete in the summer Olympics after she qualified in the women's 3,000 meter steeplechase late Thursday night. The Morgan, Utah native finished second overall in the event at the US Olympic Trials in Eugene, Oregon, clinching a spot on the United States team at the Olympic Games next month in Beijing.
"It is unbelievable," Anderson said in describing her feelings. "You couldn't ask for a better crowd for this kind of an atmosphere. It was awesome and it is so exciting to come down knowing that I was going to make the Olympic team on that last straight away. There are no words to describe that feeling."
Anderson posted a career best time of 9:30.75 to finish second overall, after being ranked fourth overall heading into the meet. That time is a career best by over nine seconds for Anderson, who is now running for Team Nike. Anna Willard, also representing Nike finished first with a new American record of 9:27.59 and Jenny Barringer of Colorado was third at 9:33.11. The top three finishers earned a spot on the Olympic team.
"I wanted it to go out fast like it did," Anderson continued. "That is what we were planning on and I knew if I could stay right with Jenny [Barringer] and Anna [Willard] that I would be there at the end and be able to finish strong and make the team. It still felt like people were right on me. I was still running like they were. Even though I wasn't sure how far behind me they were or anything. I wasn't going to look or let down at all and give up that spot. I wanted to go 9:35 or under. To run 9:30 was unbelievable. I am so excited to PR by nine seconds and make the Olympic team. It is just a dream come true."
She is the first former Weber State track and field athlete to ever compete in the Olympics. This year will mark the first time the women's steeplechase has ever been contested in the Olympics. Anderson concluded her four year Weber State career in 2007, after earning All-American honors twice, holding four Weber State school records, and winning nine Big Sky Conference titles. In the spring of 2007 Anderson broke the American record in the steeplechase at 9:39.95, her previous career best time before Thursday's Olympic Trials.
The Beijing Olympic Games will begin August 8 with the track and field events scheduled for August 15-24.
"I loved being part of the Big Sky Conference, I love being part of Weber State and now a part of Nike," Anderson said. "I just couldn't be happier. I am not going to be able to sleep tonight. I am going to be up just running in my sleep and not be able to calm down. I am just so excited."
In the same race at the Olympic Trials was another former Weber State runner Sariah Long who finished in 12th place with a time of 10:00.62. Long finished her WSU career last month by earning All-American honors for the second straight year in the steeplechase.