Five Cougars to Compete at 2008 Beijing Olympic Games

Aug. 6, 2008

PULLMAN, Wash. -- Washington State will have one current and four former student-athletes competing at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China, Aug. 8-24.

There are three Washington State alumni who will be competing for the USA in track and field. All their track and field competitions (known as Athletics) will take place in the National Stadium, also known as the Bird's Nest Stadium which seats 91,000 spectators and is the site of the Opening Ceremonies Aug. 8.

Bernard Lagat is the leading runner in both the men's 1500m and 5000m races after winning both events at the 2008 Trials. Lagat (pronounced lah-got) was the 2007 World Champion in the 1500m and 5000m as well as two-time Olympian. Running for his native Kenya, Lagat won a Bronze medal in the 1500m at the 2000 Sydney Games, and won the Silver at the 2004 Athens Games. Lagat, who lives and trains in Tucson, Ariz., will compete in these Olympic Games as a United States citizen. The men's 1500m first round will take place Aug. 15 (7:10 p.m. Beijing time), the semifinal races will be Aug. 17 (9:55 p.m.) and the final will be Aug. 19 (10:50 p.m.). The men's 5000m race first round will be Aug. 20 (8:15 p.m.) with the final set to be run Aug. 23 (8:10 p.m.)

Ian Waltz (pronounced eye-ann) leads the USA men's discus squad after winning the Trials in July. He finished 22nd in the discus qualifying rounds at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games. Waltz was the 2005 and 2006 US champion. He is originally from Post Falls, Idaho, but now lives and trains in Chula Vista, Calif. He is engaged to USA pole vaulter Stacy Dragila, a two-time World Champion and Gold medal winner at the 2000 Sydney Games. The qualification rounds for the men's discus will take place Aug. 16 (10:40 a.m. and 12:05 p.m.), with the final set for Aug. 19 (9 p.m.).

Diana Pickler makes her Olympic debut in the women's heptathlon after placing third in the USA Trials earlier this summer in Eugene. Pickler, from Sachse, Texas, has been training with Cougar Head Coach Rick Sloan in Pullman for the past 18 months. He is also headed to Beijing for the Games. Pickler is the first WSU woman graduate to compete at the Olympic Games as a member of the USA team. The women's heptathlon will open the track and field competition Aug. 15 (100m hurdles at 9 a.m., high jump 10:30 a.m., shot put 7 p.m., 200m 9:15 p.m.). The heptathlon concludes Aug. 16 (long jump 9:50 a.m., javelin 7 p.m., 800m 9:45 p.m.).

Anson Henry is a member of the Canadian track and field team and will be running in the men's 100m dash and on the 4x100m relay team. He finished third in the 100m dash at the Canadian Olympic Trials, and was a member of the Canadian men's 4x100m relay team at the 2004 Athens Games. The men's 100m dash preliminary rounds will be run Aug. 15 (9:45 a.m. first round, 7:10 p.m. second round) with the semifinal races Aug. 16 (8:05 p.m.) and the final set for 10:30 p.m. the same day.

The only Washington State University undergraduate competing at the Beijing Games is Rugile Mileisyte (pronounced rue-GEE-lay meal-ee-SHAY-tah), a swimmer on the Lithuanian Olympic team. Mileisyte, from Alytus, Lithuania, will be a sophomore this fall at WSU. She will swim in the 50-meters freestyle Aug. 15 (6:30 p.m. Beijing time) at the National Aquatics Center.

WASHINGTON STATE UNIVERSITY PAST OLYMPIANS

Name (sport if not track & field) Country Years MedalAllinger, Dawn (team handball) USA 1996Arouzes, Demetrious Cyprus 1988Avognan, John Ivory Coast 1976Babits, Laslo Canada 1984Bertoia, Don Canada 1964Bohn, 'Doc' (trainer) USA 1932, '36, '48, '52, '60, '64, '68Brunner, Chantal New Zealand 1996, 2000Campbell, Ian Australia 1980Chaplin, John (track coach) USA 2000Conine, Gerald (wrestling) USA 1964Dodoo, Francis Ghana 1984, '88, '92, '96Eishen, Clem USA 1948Enquist, Paul (rower) USA 1984 GoldGambetta, Carlos Argentina 1980Gittens, Boyd USA 1968Gustafsson, Tore Sweden 1988, '92, '96Hadjiandreou, Marios Greece 1988Henry, Anson Canada 2004Hitchcock, Vaughan (wrestling coach) USA 1976James, Laura Trinidad 1972Jenne, Eldon USA 1920Johanssen, Patrik Sweden 1992Joubert, Michael Australia 1996Kablan, Georges Ivory Coast 1976, '84Kinkade, Mike (baseball) USA 2000 GoldKoech, Peter Kenya 1988 SilverKorir, Julius Kenya 1984 GoldKoutsoukis, Dimitrious Greece 1988Lagat, Bernard Kenya 2000 Bronze Kenya 2004 SilverLi, Tony (Li Tong) China 1992, '96Lindgren, Gerry USA 1964Moracho, Javier Spain 1980, '84Moutsanas, Sotirios Greece 1984Mullins, Peter Australia 1948N'Drin, Celestine Ivory Coast 1984, '88Nordquist, Doug USA 1984Norelius, Kristi (rower) USA 1984 GoldOrr, Lee Canada 1936Ortega, Omar Argentina 1984Pallakis, Christos Greece 1992Parnell, Bill Canada 1948, '52Peyou, Henri Cameroon 1992Rademacher, Pete (boxer) USA 1956 GoldReed, Georgette Canada 1992Roininen, Leo Canada 1948Shirley, Simon Australia 1988Taiwo, Joseph Nigeria 1984Thompson, Camille (basketball) Canada 1996Tiacoh, Gabriel Ivory Coast 1984 SilverWaltz, Ian USA 2004

List current as of 8-6-08

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