July 3, 2008
Eugene, Ore. -- Houston native Funmi Jimoh (Rice, 2007) earned a spot on the U.S.A. Olympic Team by placing third at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials held at Hayward Field on the University of Oregon campus.
A graduate of Dulles High School, Jimoh became the first Rice women's track and field athlete to make a U.S.squad when she jumped 6.72m/22-0.75 in front of a crowd of over 20,000 fans. Former Rice shot put champion Regina Cavanaugh was an alternate on both the 1984 and 1988 teams.
"She was the third youngest competitor and she has improved immensely since last year," commented Rice women's track and field coach Jim Bevan. "She competed very well in a pressure-packed situation in front of a lot of people."
Bevan also serves has Funmi's personal coach.
Funmi also becomes the ninth Rice women's track and field athlete to represent her country in Olympic competition and the 2008 Olympics will be the sixth consecutive Olympiad to have at least one Rice women's track and field athlete in the field. Eight of the other nine competed in track events, while a ninth, Heather McDermid won a pair of medals for Canada while competing in rowing. Here's the list of previous Rice women's track and field Olympians:
Rosey Edeh '90 (Canada), 1988, 1992, 1996
Maureen Stewart '90 (Costa Rica), 1988
Heather McDermid '89 (Canada), Rowing - Silver Medal 1996, Bronze Medal 2000
Melissa Straker '97 (Barbados), 1996
Andrea Blackett '97 (Barbados), 1996, 2000 2004
Cherita Howard '98 (Barbados), 1996
Margaret Fox '00 (Canada), 2000
Allison Beckford '04 (Jamaica), 2004
Other than the 1980 games, which were boycotted by the United States, Rice has had at least one athlete compete in each Olympics since the Montreal games in 1976 in which Dave Roberts won the Owls last Olympic track and field medal, taking the silver in the pole vault.
Jimoh will return to Houston for a brief period and then will head to Europe, before going to Beijing, China.
Long Jump Results
1 Brittney Reese 6.95m/22-09.75
2 Grace Upshaw 6.88m/22-07.00
3 Funmi Jimoh 6.72m/22-00.75
4 Hyleas Fountain 6.70m/21-11.75
5 Tianna Madison 6.58m/21-07.25
6 Ola Sesay 6.57m/21-06.75
7 Shameka Marshall 6.55m/21-06.00
8 Akiba McKinney 6.54m/21-05.50
9 Rose Richmond 6.42m/21-00.75
10 Erica McLain 6.38m/20-11.25
11 Brianna Glenn 6.25m/20-06.25
12 Jeomi Maduka 5.95m/19-06.25