Though hog calls are unlikely to be heard above other cheers inside the 78, 838 seat Maracanã Stadium at the Rio Olympics, plenty of Arkansas Razorbacks are there, going for gold.
Eighteen current and former Arkansas Razorbacks are vying for medals at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Six are men. Twelve are women. Seven of the 18 are representing the U.S. Most are competing in track and field events, a few in golf.
“In fact, many countries would be very envious of the size of contingent that we have represented at Rio,” Lance Harter, the Razorbacks’ Women’s Track and Field head coach. He’s in Fayetteville, but has been having daily conversations with U of A assistant coaches who are with the athletes in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Questions he asks: “Are they in good spirits? Are they sleeping well? Are they eating OK? Because, obviously there are a lot of changes that occur when you live in the Olympic village. Are they enjoying their time?"
Sandi Morris and Lexi Weeks in the pole vault, Taylor Ellis-Watson in the Relay and Chrishuna Williams in the 800 meters are Razorbacks to keep an eye on for the U.S. Women’s side.
The U of A Men’s track and field (and cross country) coach Chris Bucknam is also keeping tabs on the progress of three from his team who are running and jumping for the US and Jamaica. Omar McLeod is competing in the 110 meter hurdles for Jamaica. Clive Pullen is participating in the Triple Jump for Jamaica. Jarrion Lawson is competing in the Long Jump. Bucknam says they’re ready.
“The hay is in the barn. Basically, there’s what we would call light workouts. Obviously they’re heavy volume of training is done and now it’s basically rest and mental preparation,” Bucknam says.
Lawson, a native of Texarkana, won the 100 and 200 meters, and Long Jump in NCAA Championship earlier this year. He was the first college athlete to accomplish that feat since Jesse Owens 80 years earlier. Lawson and McAlmont, Arkansas-native Jeff Henderson finished second and first in the American Olympic qualifiers for Long Jump.
Fayetteville isn’t the only U of A system campus to claim an Olympian this year. Former UALR Trojan and distance runner Natasha Wodak will be representing Canada in the 10k.
Click here to find out when U of A Track and Field athletes are competing in Rio.
List of current and former University of Arkansas track and field athletes in the Rio 2016 Olympics:
Dominque Scott, Women’s 10,000m, South Africa
Jarrion Lawson, Men’s Long Jump, USA
Christine Kalmer, Women’s Marathon, South Africa
Clive Pullen, Men’s Triple Jump, Jamaica
Veronica Campbell-Brown, Women’s 200m and Women’s 4x100m, Jamaica
Omar McLeod, Men’s 110m Hurdles, Jamaica
Sparkle McKnight, Women’s 400m Hurdles, Trinidad & Tobago
Kemoy Campbell, Men’s 5,000m, Jamaica
Chrishuna Williams, Women’s 800m, USA
Tyson Gay, Men’s 4x100m, USA
Sandi Morris, Women’s Pole Vault, USA
Lexi Weeks, Women’s Pole Vault, USA
Tina Sutej, Women’s Pole Vault, Slovenia
Taylor Ellis-Watson, Women’s 4x400, USA
Regina George, Women’s 400m, Nigeria
U of A Non-Track and Field athletes:
Stacy Lewis, Women’s Golf, USA
David Lingmerth, Men’s Golf, Sweden
Gabby Lopez, Women’s Golf, Mexico
Native Arkansans in the Rio Olympics:
Isabella Isaksen (Fayetteville), Women’s Modern Pentathlon, USA
Margaux Isaksen (Fayetteville), Women’s Modern Pentathlon, USA
Michael Tinsley (Little Rock), Men’s 400m Hurdles, USA
Lexi Weeks (Cabot), Women’s Pole Vault, USA
Jeff Henderson (McAlmont), Men’s Long Jump, USA
Kyle Clemons (Jonesboro), Men’s 4x400m, USA