Going for the Gold in Athens

Published: Aug 23, 2004


Going for the Gold in Athens


The whole world will be watching later this month as an outstanding UMBC alumna, originally from the Caribbean, competes for her native country in the 2004 Summer Olympic Games in Athens, Greece.

Cleopatra Borel (Interdisciplinary Studies, ’02) is a three-time UMBC Track and Field NCAA All American in the shot put and was UMBC’s first-ever NCAA champion. A native of Trinidad and Tobago, Borel will pursue the global pinnacle of her sport during Olympic track and field competition, which runs from August 18 through 29.

Borel graduated from UMBC in 2002 with a bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies focused on health psychology, and is now a graduate student in psychology at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. Currently ranked 10th in the world in her event by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), Borel is ready for the challenge at Athens.

“My goal is just to go out there and throw as far as I could possibly throw. I would love to get a PR (personal record) on that day,” Borel told The Trinidad & Tobago Express in a June interview.

“I plan to take everything step by step,” she told the Express. “The first target is getting past the qualifying round. And then, the goal is to be among the top eight. Once you’re in the final, anything could happen.”

Among those cheering Borel on stateside is UMBC Track and Field Head Coach David O. Bobb. “Cleopatra Borel is the ultimate student-athlete,” says Bobb. “She excelled in both the classroom and shot put circle. She put 100 percent into everything and the results show it. Being an Olympian is a great accomplishment. She will represent her country well and I wish her the best in Athens.”

Two other international UMBC student-athletes deserve congratulations this year for coming close to qualifying for their native Olympic teams. High jumper Huguens Jean of Haiti and swimmer Carlos Canepa of Peru will be watching the games from home this year with an eye on preparing for 2008.

The games of the 28th Olympiad will be held from August 11-29 and televised internationally on the NBC family of broadcast networks. A complete guide to the 2004 Games and a TV schedule is online. The women’s shot put qualifying rounds are scheduled for 1:30 a.m. (ET) on Wed. Aug 18.



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