Skip to main content

Tanner Gains Olympic Experience As Woodruff Makes Final

Aug 2, 2021

Huskies at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics

Sam Tanner, Sophomore, New Zealand | Follow on Instagram
1,500-meters - 35th overall

Izzi Batt-Doyle, 2019 grad, Australia | Follow on Instagram
5,000-meters - 28th overall

Amy-Eloise Markovc, 2018 grad, Great Britain | Follow on Instagram
5,000-meters - 20th overall

Gianna Woodruff, 2015 grad, Panama | Follow on Instagram
400m Hurdles

Heats: July 31 - 9:00 am Tokyo (5:00 pm July 30 Seattle) - 2nd in Heat 3, Advances to Semis
Semifinals: Aug. 2 - 8:35 pm Tokyo (4:35 am Seattle) - 2nd in Heat 2; Advances to Final
Final: Aug. 4 - 11:30 am Tokyo (7:30 pm Aug. 3 Seattle)

TOKYO, Japan - Sophomore Sam Tanner became the first current Husky track athlete since 1996 to compete in the Olympic Games today, racing in the first round of the 1,500-meters for his native New Zealand. Much earlier this morning by Seattle time, one day earlier in Japan, 2015 grad Gianna Woodruff also made history by becoming the first Husky to make an Olympic final in a running event since 1984, advancing in the women's 400-meter hurdles with a National Record.

Tanner made his Olympic debut tonight, less than two months after he wrapped his first collegiate outdoor season by running in the NCAA Outdoor 1,500-meter final. In the second of three preliminary heats, Tanner ran the first three laps towards the back of a bunched up pack of 16 men. Heats one and three went out quickly, with Tanner's heat at a slower, tactical pace that took out any chance for the runners to get one of the six time qualifiers from the round. When the runners shifted into gear on the final lap, all the jockeying for position led to a pair of falls and Tanner had to push forward another runner that stumbled in front of him. Tanner kept on his feet and moved up four spots on the final lap into ninth-place but couldn't get into the top-six to auto advance. As the other two heats went much quicker, Tanner's time of 3:43.22 was good for 35th overall.

Tanner has plenty of time to progress, just ask Woodruff, who six years after her final race as a Husky, has steadily progressed all the way to her first final in her first Olympics. A two-time semifinalist at the World Championships, Woodruff broke through today with yet another lifetime-best, lowering her Panamanian National Record down to 54.22 seconds, nearly half a second better than her previous PR. For the second round in a row, Woodruff was second only to USA's Sydney McLaughlin, the current World Record holder. She just outleaned a Ukrainian runner to take second in the semi, clapping her hands emphatically when she saw that she'd earned the second auto-advancing spot.

Woodruff will have a shot at a medal tomorrow, Aug. 3, at 7:30 p.m. Pacific time. She is the first Husky in an Olympic final on the track since Canadian sprinter Sterling Hinds won bronze on the 4x100-meter relay in 1984. In an individual track event, Woodruff is the first finalist since Jim Seymour took fourth in the 400m hurdles in Munich in 1972.