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WSU’s Paul Ryan is one step closer to the Olympics

The track star qualified for the semifinals on Thursday!

2021 NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Outdoor Track & Field Championship Photo by Justin Tafoya/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

Good morning, Coug fans!

The Olympic trials are heating up, much like this weather, and I’m not sure whether or not you’ve been paying attention, but Washington State’s own track star Paul Ryan raced through the semi-finals, and is one step closer to Tokyo. Also, I would like to apologize to him- he is not in the picture I chose for this article header, but I wanted to keep the track branding strong. I hope you understand, Paul, if you ever read this! Thanks!

Ryan is running in the 1,500 meter race, so let’s break that down first. I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t quite know the ins-and-outs of track, so this was a fun adventure for me. The 1,500 is known mostly for being the middle ground in terms of races, and the total distance is roughly 0.93 miles. The closest thing to any average time for normal humans running the 1500 meter race is about 6 minutes.

However, the coolest part (in my opinion) about the Olympics is watching the real life superhumans do their thing. The fastest time for men running the 1500 (as of August 2020) is Hicham El Guerrouj, who ran a 3:26.00. For women, the fastest record (as of February 2021) is held by Genzebe Dibaba, who ran a 3:50.07.

To qualify for the Olympics during the final round, the time one needs is 3:35.00. Paul Ryan made his way into the semifinals with a time of 3:45.86. This is incredibly impressive. He landed the 24th best time, putting him soundly within the 25 spots to move on to the finals. He also placed fifth during his first heat!

Now, I know what you’re thinking. Emma, what’s “heat” aside from the weather outside?

Well, reader, I’m glad you asked! Heat, in track, is a term used to describe the group of runners competing. These groups are selected randomly.

While no one in Ryan’s group technically hit the Olympic standard (the highest time in his section was a 3:39.02), they still have time. Keep rooting for WSU’s Paul Ryan as he advances closer to a potential Olympic spot! We should know on Sunday.

Please also stay cool this weekend, and don’t forget to drink water and wear sunscreen! Go Cougs!


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