UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Former Nittany Lion great Bridget Franek competed against the world’s best on Monday (Aug. 6), finishing 14th in the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the 2012 Olympic Games, at Olympic Stadium. The accomplishment is also a historic one, as Franek is the first Penn State graduate to qualify for a women’s event final in track and field.
Franek – the NCAA Champion in the steeplechase in 2010 – was one of two Americans in the event final, with teammate Emma Coburn leading the way with a ninth-place effort. Russia’s Yuliya Zaripova was the eventual gold medalist, finishing in 9:06.72. Tunisia’s Habiba Ghribi followed in second in 9:08.37, while Sofia Assefa of Ethiopia took third in 9:09.84.
Also racing on Monday was rising junior Kirsten Nieuwendam (Parimaribo, Suriname), who placed eighth in her heat of the 200-meters in 24.07. This race marks Nieuwendam’s second Olympic appearance, as the Nittany Lion standout also represented Suriname at the 2008 Games in Beijing.
There is one event remaining for the Nittany Lion contingent in London, as Shana Cox of Great Britain, and Dominique Blake of Jamaica are both members of their nation’s respective relay pools for the 4×400-meters. Rounds of the event are set for Friday (Aug. 10) at 2:10 p.m. EDT. Both Cox and Blake were members of Penn State’s NCAA Champion 4×400 in 2008.
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