[UPDATED] Iowa Woman to Run for Olympic Gold
[UPDATE] Tuesday morning in the first 5,000-meter heat race at the Olympics in Rio, Shelby Houlihan finished in 4th place, just .38 seconds from first place. Houlihan's time of 15:19.76 placed her 10th in the field of 15 runners for Friday night's final.
[ORIGINAL STORY] Five short weeks ago, she qualified for the Olympics. Tuesday morning, this Iowa native gets her shot in Rio.
Shelby Houlihan of Sioux City qualified for the U.S. Olympic team on July 10 in Oregon, where she finished second in the 5,000-meters at the Olympic Team Trials. After finishing the race, she was overcome by the realization that she had achieved her dream of making the U.S. Olympic team. A dream she'd had for a very long time.
Within minutes, the tears turned into a broad smile as she posed for a photograph with Molly Huddle, who finished first, and Kim Conley, who crossed the tape in third place.
Houlihan ran for Sioux City East High School before becoming an All-American at Arizona State, prior to turning professional. She was an 8-time champion at the Drake Relays.
Houlihan, 23, is one of the youngest members of the U.S. Track and Field team and has dreamt of running in the Olympics since kindergarten. She tells the Des Moines Register "From a young age, I decided that I wanted to be one of the best runners in the world. Even at 5 years old, I always believed that I could achieve that."
She's achieved the dream of making it to the Olympics. Now, there are races to be run in Rio. Shelby will run Tuesday morning at either 7:30 or 7:55 (Iowa time), depending on which heat race she's in. If she qualifies for the 5,000-meter final, that race is held Friday evening at 7:40 (Iowa time).
It's often said you should visualize success. Shelby always has. At age five, she drew a picture of herself running in the Olympics. Not just competing, but crossing the finish line in first place as a full stadium cheered her on. She now gets that shot and Iowa, and the entire U.S., will be rooting for her. Myself included.