You may never have heard of Christian Smith, but his story is worth telling. He is a middle distance runner, and graduated from Kansas State University in 2006.
While at K-State, Smith was the NCAA champion in the men's mile at the 2006 NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships, and was also a 1500m All-American in 2006, a four-time Indoor All-American (in 2003, 2004, 2005, & 2006), collegiate record holder in the indoor 1000m, and he also holds the indoor 1000m school record and the outdoor 800m and 1500m school records.
But his true fame came because of what he did to qualify for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Christian was running the 800m, and was listed by one track and field resource as the “least likely to qualify for the team.” Only the top three places qualified for Beijing.
In order to get that 3rd place spot on the team, Christian had to dive at the finish line. He literally laid out his whole body to edge out pre-race favorite Khadevis Robinson by .06 seconds
Smith’s dive across the line to secure third place epitomizes what the Olympic Trials are all about. He entered the meet with 29th best seed time (he wasn't sure he was even in the race until Alan Webb opted not to run the 800); his 1:45.47 was his best time since 2006. Even more remarkable was that Smith had a burst appendix the previous year. Not appendicitis but a burst appendix. Simply unreal.
I followed Christian’s blog while he was in Beijing (he didn’t make it past the qualifying round), and it was really cool to see a hometown Kansas kid make it to the world stage. His drive and determination during the Olympic qualifying run should be an inspiration to all runners.
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