Reese Hoffa is attempting to qualify for his third straight Olympics after taking seventh in 2008.
June 20, 2012
EUGENE, Ore. --- The final count is five current Georgia team members and eight former Bulldogs who have qualified for and are traveling to the Olympic Track & Field Trials in Eugene, Ore.
The Trials begin on Thursday, June 21 and run through Sunday, July 1 at the University of Oregon's historic Hayward Field. Those qualified will now be aiming for one of the top three spots in their event finals to qualify for the U.S. team. The 2012 Olympic Games are in London on July 25-August 12 with the track and field portion running from August 3-12.
On the men's side, sophomore Justin Welch (hammer throw), senior Michael Ayers (decathlon), senior Torrin Lawrence (400-meter dash) and sophomore Caleb Whitener (shot put) are the current Bulldogs representing Georgia. For the women, true freshman Morgann Leleux (pole vault) will be representing the Lady Bulldogs.
2008 Olympic silver medalist Hyleas Fountain (heptathlon) headlines the former Georgia lettermen who are competing for a spot on the 2012 roster. Kat Majester (pole vault) will be joining Leleux in the pole vault competition in Eugene.
Gunning to compete in his third Olympics after taking seventh in 2008, Reese Hoffa (shot put) will also be joining former Bulldogs Kibwe Johnson (hammer throw), Lucais Mackay (hammer throw), David Dickens (400), Justin Gaymon (400 hurdles) and LaRon Bennett (400 hurdles) at the Trials.
Welch and Mackay kick off the Trials by competing in the hammer throw competition at the Nike World Headquarters in Beaverton, Ore., on Thursday at 6:15 p.m. ET. This is the only event that is scheduled away from the Hayward Field facility. The rest of the events crank up on Friday.
Hoffa, Johnson, Gaymon, Fountain and Ayers have posted the important "A" standards in their events and will automatically advance to the Olympic Games with a top-three finish. In fact, Hoffa has the world-leading shot put mark of 71 feet, 6 ¾ inches and is third on the overall list. Qualifying performances for the Trials must have been attained between May 1, 2011 and June 17, 2012 in most cases.
The eight other UGA competitors, who have provisional "B" standards, will have to finish in the top three and hope for the right combination in their respective events to qualify for a trip to London.
In 2008, Fountain and Hoffa joined seven other former Georgia track and field team members from seven different countries in Beijing. Georgia track and field has captured 11 medals at the Olympics dating back to the 1936 Games in Berlin, Germany, including five gold medals.
Twelve hours of live coverage of the Trials are scheduled over the 11 days of the meet. NBC will feature the following live action: Saturday, June 23, 8-9 p.m.; Sunday, June 24, 7-8 p.m.; Saturday, June 30, 9-10 p.m.; and Sunday, July 1, 7-8 p.m. NBC Sports Network (SN) is scheduled to show live footage on Friday, June 22, 9-11 p.m.; Monday, June 25, 9-11 p.m.; Thursday, June 28, 9-11 p.m.; and Friday, June 29, 6-8 p.m.
Live results for the Olympic Trials and recaps on Georgia's representatives will be found at georgiadogs.com.
Schedule For Georgia's Current/Former Team Members Competing At Olympic Trials
MEN - Name Event Date, Time (ET)
$Justin Welch hammer throw Thursday, June 21, 6:15 p.m.
Kibwe Johnson hammer throw Thursday, June 21, 6:15 p.m.
Lucais Mackay hammer throw Thursday, June 21, 6:15 p.m.
$Michael Ayers decathlon Friday, June 22, 4 p.m.
*$Torrin Lawrence 400m Friday, June 22, 6:10 p.m.
*David Dickens 400m Friday, June 22, 6:10 p.m.
$Caleb Whitener shot put Saturday, June 23, 6 p.m.
Reese Hoffa shot put Saturday, June 23, 6 p.m.
*Justin Gaymon 400m hurdles Thursday, June 28, 9 p.m.
*LaRon Bennett 400m hurdles Thursday, June 28, 9 p.m.
* - chance to be a relay member as well; $ - current Bulldog
$Morgann Leleux pole vault Friday, June 22, 8:30 p.m.
Kat Majester pole vault Friday, June 22, 8:30 p.m.
Hyleas Fountain heptathlon Friday, June 29, 1:30 p.m.