LONDON – Ole Miss junior Isiah Young and former student-athlete Brittney Reese will begin their quest for Olympic medals when they compete Tuesday at the Olympic Stadium.
Young, competing in his first Olympic Games, received quite a draw for the men’s 200 meter preliminaries that start at 5:50 a.m. CT (11:50 a.m. in London). He will run in lane four of heat one, with Usain Bolt in lane five. Yes, that Bolt. The Jamaican sensation that on Sunday repeated as 100 meter champion with an Olympic record in that event.
The top three finishers in each of the seven preliminary heats, plus the three next fastest times, will advance to Wednesday’s semifinals (2:10 p.m. CT).
“I just want to go out there and do my best,” Young said before he left for London. “It’s really a blessing. I just have to run my race and not try to do things I’m not accustomed to doing. I’m looking forward to the crowd. We had a good crowd in Oregon at Track Town USA, and I’m really looking forward to the crowd in London.”
Young is the seventh athlete in Ole Miss track & field history to compete at the Olympics and the first Rebel to ever compete in a non-hurdle sprinting event.
The Olympics will cap a phenomenal junior year for Young, who was crowned SEC champion in the 200 and finished fourth at the NCAA Championships. Having broken the school record numerous times in 2012, he improved throughout the year up to his third-place finish at the U.S. Olympic Trials that landed him a spot in London.
He will be joined in the Olympic Stadium on Tuesday by Brittney Reese, considered by most to be the gold medal favorite in the women’s long jump.
Reese will jump 13th in Group A, which begins at 1:05 p.m. CT (7:05 p.m. in London). The top 12 in the qualifying round will advance to Wednesday’s final (2:05 p.m. CT).
The 2008 National Female Field Athlete of the Year as a member of the Ole Miss track & field team, Reese is making her second Olympic appearance. She placed fifth at the 2008 Beijing Games.
“I feel honored to go back to the Olympics and represent the number one country in the world,” Reese said before she left the States. “It’s another dream come true for me. I am more experienced than I was four years ago in Beijing, so I’m going into London more determined and focused. My main goal is to go out there, have fun and be Brittney Reese.”
Since Beijing, she has won two world outdoor and two world indoor long jump titles, as well as broken Jackie Joyner-Kersee’s American indoor record in the event. She has the best jump in the world this year by more than four inches.
Reese is the first Ole Miss Rebel to compete in two Olympics for track & field.
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