EUGENE, Ore.—The University of Colorado added one more athlete on Sunday evening to its list of student-athletes and alumni that will participate in the London Olympics later this month.
Jenny (Barringer) Simpson finished third in the women’s 1,500 meters run final and clinched her second straight summer games appearance at the last day of the U.S. Track & Field Olympic Trials at Hayward Field.
With the addition of Simpson, it brings the total number of Buffs who will go to London to five as she joins Emma Coburn (women’s steeplechase), Kara Goucher (women’s marathon), Shalaya Kipp (women’s steeplechase) and Dathan Ritzenhein (men’s 10,000 meters run).
Simpson ran the 1,500 in four minutes and 5.17 seconds, finishing behind winner Morgan Uceny (4:04.59) and runner-up Shannon Rowbury (4:05.11).
“The hardest thing about the trials is that your emotions can slip away,” Simpson said. “I didn’t care about my time or my place. I was just so happy the three of us made it.”
In the race, Simpson started in the middle of the pack until there was about 800 meters left, when she made her move to the top four of the group. She remained in that position until the last lap, when it was her, Uceny and Rowbury who broke away from the main pack.
“It was a difficult race,” Simpson said. “I remember at one point I was in a compromised position. I found a way out with 800 meters to go. I kept my cool and got to the outside.”
The 1,500 will be a new experience for Simpson at the Olympics, as she participated in the steeplechase during the 2008 Beijing Games.
“Making a team in two different events, I’m able to bring a special experience to the table,” Simpson said. “It’s a really exciting thing.”
Simpson wasn’t the only Colorado alum in the 1,500-meter race, as she was joined by Sara Vaughn, who finished 13th with a time of 4:30.89. Like Simpson, Vaughn began the race in the middle of the pack, but she wasn’t able to find the extra gear and move to the front like Simpson did.
The last day of the Olympic trials ended with the men’s 200-meter dash final, with CU alum Jeremy Dodson looking for his first trip to the summer games.
Dodson began the sprint near the back of the field, but he turned up his speed down the homestretch and finished sixth overall with a time of 20.25 – just one one-hundredth of a second behind fifth place finisher Darvis Patton.
The 2012 London Olympics begin on July 27 and run through Aug. 12. The games will be televised in the United States on the networks of NBC Universal.