Three months after breaking a 17-year-old Maryland record, Micha Powell is headed to the Olympics as a member of Canada’s 4x400 relay pool.
“I got the email saying congratulations and instantly my heart stopped,” she said in university release. “I was so excited because it was official I was going to be an Olympian at 21.”
Powell set Maryland’s record in the 400 with a time of 52.49 in April at the Florida relays. She finished sixth in the race with a time of 53.45 at Canada’s Olympic trials last week.
“This is the culmination of a stellar season for Micha. It started with school records, to the NCAA Championships and now an Olympic opportunity,” Maryland track and field coach Andrew Valmon added in the release. She has worked hard towards these goals and to see her progress over these past few years has been exciting. This will be a special moment for her and our staff is so proud to see her qualify."
Valmon himself was a 400 runner, and is a member of the 4x400 relay team that set the current world record at the 1993 world championships.
“It’s kind of fitting that you get an athlete that’s running the same event you participated in the games at,” Valmon told Testudo Times.
Powell, a rising junior, is one of two Canadian runners at Maryland, and the Terps are bringing in another in the 2016 recruiting class.
“I was born and raised in Canada and I think having the opportunity to represent my beautiful homeland is a dream come true,” Powell said. “I think it's incredible to know that little Canadian girls and boys are going to be looking up to me and seeing me on TV saying, ‘wow she's at the Olympics maybe I'll be there too someday.’”
In addition to Powell, former Maryland jumper Thea LaFond will also be participating the Olympics for Dominica in the triple jump.