Immigrants of the Day: Rio Olympics Edition – The Track and Field Team

Posted on: August 8th, 2016
by Greg Siskind
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As I’ve done for the last four Olympic Games, I’m honoring immigrants on Team USA. There are 43 in Rio and I’m grouping this time by sport. The track and field team is where we begin with several immigrants leading the charge.

 Kenyan-born Hillary Bor will be competing in the 3000 meter steeplechase event. Bor has the distinction of gaining US citizenship via the US Army’s MAVNI immigration program.

Paul Chelimo is also Kenyan-born and became a US citizen by serving in the US Army. He is competing in the 5000 meter run.

Trinidad-born Kerron Clement is a two-time Olympian and has previously won a gold and a silver medal. He is competing this year in the 400 meter hurdles. He and the legendary Edwin Moses are the only two men to ever win the 400 meter hurdles world title twice.

United Kingdom-born Kim Conley will be competing in the 5000 meter run. She was the first student at the University of California, Davis to qualify for the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships and this is her second time on Team USA.

Ethiopian-born Charles Jock is competing in the 800 meter run. Charles was born to Sudanese parents in an refugee camp and his family came to the country via our refugee program. Charles has three brothers and five sisters and was raised in San Diego.

Meb Keflezighi needs no introduction to many of you and he’s been featured as Immigrant of the Day in the past. the 41-year old Eritrean-born Keflezighi is the popular winner of the Boston and New York Marathons and won the silver medal at the 2004 Olympics. Except for the 2008 games, Meb has competed in every Olympics since 2000 in Sidney.
Kenyan-born Shadrack Kipchirchir will be competing in the 10,000 meter run. Kipchirchir is in the US Army and gained citizenship through the MAVNI program. Shadrack moved to the US to attend Western Kentucky University and had no experience running competitively before coming to the US as an F-1 student.
Kenyan-born Leonard Korir will be competing in the 10,000 meter run in Rio. Like Shadrack, Leonard began running competitively relatively late after his talent was discovered while in college in Kenya. He then came to the US as a foreign student and competed for Iona College in New York. Leonard is a versatile runner and runs in events ranging from the 1500 meter run to the half marathon. He ran the NY Half Marathon in a blazing-fast time of just over 61 minutes.
42 year old Kenyan-born Bernard Lagat will be competing in his 5th Olympics in a row and his third for Team USA. He has previously won silver and bronze medals. Lagat has the distinction of having simultaneously held the world championship titles in both the 1500 and 5000-meter categories, a first in the sport.
Hassan Mead started life on a farm in war-torn Somalia and came to the US as a refugee when he was seven years old. He’s competing in the 5,000 meter race and these are his first Olympics. His Olympics trials time of just over 13 minutes in the 5K (trust me, that’s super fast) is the tenth best time in American history. He is a six-time NCAA All-American.
Good luck to my honorees on the track and field team!