Featured Stories

BYU’s James Corrigan Beats Olympic Standard, Qualifies for 2024 Paris Games

The 22-year-old returned missionary ran the 3,000-meter steeplechase in 8:13.87 to qualify for the Olympics

BYU steeplechaser James Corrigan competes in the NCAA Outdoor Championships June 5, 2024, in Eugene, Oregon. Photo by Aaron Cornia, BYU Photo, courtesy of Church News.© All rights reserved.

This story appears here courtesy of TheChurchNews.com. It is not for use by other media.

By Christine Rappleye, Church News

BYU runner James Corrigan had one more chance to get his time under the Olympic standard of 8 minutes, 15 seconds, in the 3,000-meter steeplechase for a chance to run in the 2024 Paris Games.

On Saturday, June 29, in the final race at the Penn Relays Summer Showcase — and a day before the qualifying deadline — he ran it in 8:13.87. It’s under the Olympic standard and ensuring that he’s on his way to Paris.

“It’s a dream come true,” Corrigan told FloTrack. “It’s a lot of pressure. Just the progression that’s happened and how quickly things have happened, I really struggled running my first round races, because I’ve never run an event far enough in the season to warrant a round. So running the prelim and final at nationals taught me a lot.”

He also set a school record and has the 13th fastest time in the world, reported the Deseret News.

The 22-year-old sophomore from Los Angeles, California, was third in the finals at the event at the 2024 U.S. Track and Field Olympic Trials in Eugene, Oregon, last Sunday, June. His time was 8:26.78 in the race that includes 7.5 laps around the track with hurdles and a water obstacle.

Kenneth Rooks, former NCAA champion from BYU and a returned missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, won the event at the trials with a time of 8:21.92.

BYU’s Kenneth Rooks clears a hurdle on his way to winning an NCAA championship in the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Austin, Texas, on Friday, June 9, 2023. Photo courtesy of BYU Athletics, courtesy of Church News.All rights reserved.

To qualify for the Olympics, runners need to have either the Olympic standard time or a World Athletics ranking in the top 36. Rooks’ ranking was 24th going into the trials. He’s now at 18th. Corrigan’s rank going into Saturday’s event was 82nd.

BYU director of track and field Ed Eyestone worked to find another meet within the deadline and the Penn Relays Summer Showcase added the steeplechase and other events and elevated the event to be on the World Athletics Global calendar so athletes could earn points towards their rankings.

“The amount of pressure that was on this young man was unreal,” Eyestone said. “To finish in the top-three at the Olympic Trials, then being asked to essentially run sub 8:15.00 and also to come out here in not ideal weather conditions and perform like he did was amazing.

“He had the confidence and faith to get the job done. With two laps to go I could tell he was tired but could also smell his Olympic berth. It was an impressive performance.”

There were five men in the race, including Dan Michalski of the Air Force Academy, who helped pace Corrigan for the first five laps. FloTrack livestreamed the event and many in the crowd and online were cheering for Corrigan.

“I’m just so excited,” Corrigan told FloTrack. “I hope I gave a lot of youngsters some good motivation to run track one day, specifically the steeplechase.

The Deseret News reported that in the past six weeks, Corrigan dropped 33 seconds from his time.

“Success breeds success,” said Eyestone. “I think when people see their teammates and guys who they train with day in and day out do great things, they say, ‘Why not me?’ It’s a fun time to be a Cougar, and fun time to be part of BYU track and field.”

Latter-day Saints Going to Paris

Other Latter-day Saint athletes going to Paris include Rooks and marathoners Conner Mantz and Clayton Young, who are also former BYU runners and Latter-day Saint returned missionaries and were first and second in the in the marathon at the 2024 U.S. Olympic Team Marathon Trial in Florida.

Steeplechaser Courtney Wayment was second in a competitive field at the team trials earlier this week, earning a spot on the team.

Former BYU basketball star Jimmer Fredette is on USA Basketball’s first-ever 3-by-3 Olympic team.

Send It In: Olympians and Paralypians Heading to Paris

Athletes from around the world will compete in the Summer Olympics in Paris, France, July 26 to August 11 and the Paralympics, August 28 to September 8.

As the trials are completed, the Church News is looking for information about Latter-day Saint athletes. Please send information about 2024 Olympians and Paralympians, including name, country and event, to churchnews@deseretnews.com.

Copyright 2024 Deseret News Publishing Company.

Style Guide Note:When reporting about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, please use the complete name of the Church in the first reference. For more information on the use of the name of the Church, go to our online Style Guide.