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Seven UF/IFAS CALS students, alumni qualify for Rio Olympics

Eduardo Solaeche

Eduardo Solaeche

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — If you are watching the Olympic games, you may catch students and alumni of the University of Florida. Seven of the 30 UF Gators who qualified to compete in the Rio Olympics are current or former students of the UF/IFAS College of Agricultural and Life Sciences.

“We are so proud of our students and alumni, who are not only representing the university and CALS, but also represent their home country at the world’s most elite competition,” said CALS Dean Elaine Turner.

The students and alumni are:

  • Will Claye, a former family, youth and community sciences student, will compete in the triple jump. The 2009 NCAA outdoor men’s triple jump champion and a four-time All-American is originally from Arizona. He in on team USA and is competing in his second Olympic games. He will compete on Aug. 15.
  • Eddie Lovett, a former family, youth and community sciences student, is representing the U.S. Virgin Islands in the 110-meter hurdles. Lovett won the 2013 men’s 60-meter hurdles title at the NCAA Indoor Championships with a meet-record 7.50, notching a new school record and posting the fourth-fastest time in NCAA history. He will compete on Aug. 15.
  • Omar Pinzon, earned a bachelor’s degree in 2013 in food and resource economics. He participated in his fourth Olympics as a member of the Colombian team. Pinzon competed in the 200-meter backstroke in Rio, and is a 12-time All American selection and a five-time All-SEC honoree. His heat was held on Aug. 10.
  • Shara Proctor, who earned a bachelor’s degree in 2010 in family, youth and community sciences, represents Great Britain in the long jump competition. The four-time SEC champion and four-time All-American is competing in her second Olympic games. She will compete on Aug. 16.
  • Eduardo Solaeche, food and resources economics senior, competed as a member of the Spanish team in the 200-meter individual medley competition. Solaeche is a 12-time All-American. He competed on Aug. 10.
  • Stipe Zunic, a former family, youth and community sciences student, will compete as a member of the Croatian team in the shot put competition. He is the 2015 NCAA Division I Indoor National Champion in shot put. He will compete on Aug. 18.
  • Marquis Dendy, a former family, youth and community sciences student, qualified for the Olympics in Rio, but withdrew due to injury. The long jumper was a gold medalist at the 2015 USATF Outdoor Championships.

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By: Beverly James, 352-273-3566, beverlymjames@ufl.edu

Source: Elaine Turner, 352-392-1961, returner@ufl.edu