DSU alumni ready to represent Bahamas in Rio
So far, the Rio Olympics have been pretty chill for Trevor Barry.
The Bahamian high jumper and Dickinson State University alumnus said he has been spending a lot of time in the training room, taking advantage of the free massages and physical therapy offered to the athletes.
"Just relaxing until it's time for showtime," he said.
Showtime is Sunday for the 33-year-old two-time Olympian, who'll compete in the qualification rounds with the hope of making Tuesday's finals.
"I'm taking it step by step," Barry said. "The first thing is to get through to the finals and then, in the finals, it's to make the podium. That's all I could ask for right now."
Barry is one of two former Blue Hawks competing for the Bahamas in Rio de Janeiro.
Sprinter Adrian Griffith Jr., is competing in his first Olympics in the 100 meters at age 31.
Though Griffith could not be reached for comment, he told the Bahamas news website tribune242.com that being in Rio is "a beautiful feeling."
Griffith is a longshot to make the 100 finals, but Pete Stanton—DSU's head football coach and former track coach who recruited Griffith to DSU in the early 2000s—keeps up with his former athletes and said Griffith is running the best he ever has.
"He's a good example of a guy who has just worked really hard and stayed with it," Stanton said. "He wasn't in the top few nationally for them a few years ago. But he's really gotten stronger and really stayed with it and got himself to Rio."
Griffith enters the 100 heats on Saturday with a career-best time of 10.11 seconds, which he set June 11 in Montverde, Fla.
He told tribune242.com he expects to run well, despite some mistakes during the leadup to the Olympics.
"During the season I made some mistakes, but this is the real thing, so I kind of corrected them," he said. "So I'm looking forward to going up against these guys and actually doing my best."
While the 100 meters is an event of pure, unbridled athleticism, high jump is one of the most fickle track and field events.
Stanton said centimeters can separate athletes from the bottom of the pack and a gold medal.
This year, Barry reached 2.25 meters (7 feet, 4½ inches) to qualify for the Olympics. But that's far from his best.
He jumped a career-best 2.32 meters five years ago to earn a bronze medal at the World Championships in South Korea. However, one year later at the 2012 London Olympics, he finished just 16th at 2.21 meters. That height was just three inches away from the bronze medal.
"I feel pretty good. I'm ready to jump," said Barry, who lives in Fargo. "Just staying confident. The training sessions have been going well. So I'm ready to go."
Stanton said despite what happened at the London Olympics, Barry has always been the type of athlete to perform better at the bigger events.
"He's always been such a great competitor," Stanton said. "The bigger the competition, the better he's competed. That'll serve him well."
Barry said he and Griffith have laughed about feeling like the old guys at the Olympics, especially in their respective events.
Barry is the second-oldest of 44 high jumpers in Rio. Griffith is the fifth-oldest of 85 sprinters in the 100 meters.
"I feel like a dinosaur," Barry said, followed by a lengthy laugh.
Still, Barry is quietly confident he can continue competing internationally following the Olympics.
"Let's see how this Olympics goes, and the rest of the years that follow," he said.