Boise State At The Olympics: A Look Back
July 28, 2016 BOISE, Idaho - The 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro get underway Wednesday, Aug. 3, and in the Olympic spirit, BroncoSports.com takes a look back at Boise State's Olympic past.
BroncoSports.com will publish its Rio 2016 preview Friday, showcasing the six current and former Boise State athletes that will compete at the Games in addition to when and how to watch them in action.
Today, we take a look back at the eight Boise State athletes and coaches that have competed in and coached in past Olympic Games, beginning with track and field standout Troy Kemp, the school's only three-time Olympian (1988, 1992, 1996), and including wrestler Charles Burton, whose fifth-place finish in the 85 kg class in 2000 remains the highest Olympic finish by a Bronco.
Troy Kemp – 1988, 1992 and 1996
Troy Kemp competed in three different Olympic Games, the most for any Bronco in school history. His best finish came at the 1992 Olympics when he cleared 7-7 (2.31m) on his way to seventh place. The high jumper also claimed first place at the 1995 World Championships in Gothenburg, Sweden thanks to a 7-9.25 (2.37m), the second-highest jump of his career. While at Boise State, Kemp earned NCAA All- America honors on four occasions and was crowned the Big Sky Conference High Jump Champion five times between 1984-88.
Wendell Lawrence – 1992
Wendell Lawrence represented the Bahamas and took 17th place in the triple jump at the 1992 Olympic Games (54-9.5 / 16.70m). Prior to his appearance in the Olympics, Lawrence took third place in the 1991 Pan American Games after he bounded his way to 54-9.25 (16.69m). Lawrence was a two-time All-America triple jumper while competing for the Blue and Orange from 1985-88. He was a four-time Big Sky Conference Champion in the event and still holds the conference outdoor (55-6 / 16.91m) and indoor (54-9.5 / 16.70m) records.
Ed Jacoby – 1992
Recognized as one of the top track and field coaches in the world, Ed Jacoby was an assistant coach for the United States at the 1992 Olympic Games where he helped the men’s and women’s track and field teams to a combined 30 medals, the most for any nation. Jacoby guided the track and field program at Boise State for 23 years (1973-96), amassing nine team Big Sky Conference Championships between cross country, indoor and outdoor track and field. He was named Big Sky Conference Coach of the Year 10 times and earned NCAA District Coach of the Year on three occasions.
Charles Burton - 2000
Charles Burton posted a 3-1 record at the 2000 Olympic Games to secure a fifth-place finish in the 85-kg class, good for the highest individual finish for any Bronco at an Olympic Games in school history. Prior to the Olympics, Burton won both the 1997 and 2000 Pan American Games. During his career at Boise State from 1991-96 he advanced to three NCAA National Wrestling Championships including a third-place performance in the 167-pound weight class as a senior in 1996.
Jarred Rome – 2004 and 2012
The most decorated thrower in Boise State history, Jarred Rome threw the discus for the United States in the 2004 and 2012 Olympic Games. Rome took 14th (61.55 / 18.73m) in 2004 and 31st (59.57 / 18.13m) in 2012. His six All-America honors during his time at Boise State (1996-2000) – three came in the shot put, three in the discus throw – are the most for any men’s track and field athlete in school history. Rome owned the discus throw in the Big West Conference, winning the title three times in a four-year span (1997, 1998 and 2000). Rome still holds the discus school record along with both the indoor and outdoor shot put records.
Eric Matthias – 2008
Eric Matthias competed in the discus for the British Virgin Islands at the 2008 Olympic Games. Matthias took 37th place after recording a throw of 53-1 (16.20m). While at Boise State, Matthias qualified to the NCAA Championships in 2004 and 2005 in the discus throw (outdoors) and weight throw (indoors), respectively. He also took second (62-5.75 / 19.04m) in the weight throw at the WAC Indoor Championships.
Nick Cunningham – 2010 and 2014
After finishing his track and field career at Boise State, Cunningham made the transition to bobsledding and competed in the 2010 and 2014 Olympic Games. He has compiled four top-15 finishes between two-man and four-man bobsledding at the Olympics; 12th (two-man) and 13th (four-man) in 2010, and 13th (two-man) and 12th (four-man) in 2014. Prior to bobsledding, Cunningham was a 200-meter runner for the Broncos, winning the indoor and outdoor Western Athletic Conference Championships in 2006.
Kurt Felix – 2012
Kurt Felix enters this summer’s Olympic Games with already having represented Grenada once already in 2012. Felix was unable to finish and log a score at London, but he showed flashes of brilliance over the course of the competition when he took third in the long jump (25-0.5 / 7.63m) and fifth in the high jump (6-8.75 / 2.05m). Prior to the 2012 Olympic Games, Felix was crowned the 2012 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Decathlon Champion thanks to a Mountain West record point total of 8,062. With the victory, he became the fourth men’s track and field national champion in school history.
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