FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Nearly a week into the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London, the track and field competition begins Friday with seven current and former Razorbacks representing their respective countries and the University of Arkansas.
The list of Razorbacks in London includes current student-athletes Raymond Higgs and Marek Niit, and former standouts Alistair Cragg, Tyson Gay, Jeremy Scott, Wallace Spearmon, Jr., and Samuel Vazquez.
Higgs and Vazquez are scheduled to begin their experiences on day one of competition at Olympic Stadium in London. Higgs will be competing in the second group of qualifying for the long jump, while Vazquez will run in the opening round of the 1,500 meters.
Making his first appearance at the Olympics, Higgs will be representing the Bahamas in the long jump. Having already secured an Olympic ‘B’ standard, he won the national title at the Bahamas Championships in June to qualify for the Summer Games. During the 2012 season, Higgs was the SEC outdoor champion in the long jump and finished in third place at the NCAA Championships. With his wind-aided jump of 8.36m/27-5.25 at the conference meet, Higgs has the top jump in the world under all conditions.
Niit, a native of Estonia, is also making his first appearance at the Olympics and is scheduled to compete at 100 meters and 200 meters. He is the Estonian record holder in both events with times of 10.19 and 20.43, respectively. Niit was a four-time All-American in 2012 and was part of Arkansas’ NCAA indoor title in the 4x400-meter relay.
Representing Ireland for the third time at the Olympics, Cragg will be competing at 5,000 meters. He is a two-time Olympic finalist in the event with a 12th-place finish at the 2004 Olympics in Athens. Gay is making his second appearance at the Olympics as part of Team USA. He qualified for the 100 meters with a second-place finish at the Olympic Trials in June. Gay owns the American record of 9.69 in the event.
In the pole vault, Scott is making his first appearance at the Olympics after a runner-up showing at the Olympic Trials in June. He was the 2011 Pan American Games silver medalist in the event. Spearmon is on his second Olympic Team for the United States. He won the Olympics Trials title at 200 meters and is the seventh-fastest performer in history at 200 meters with a personal-best of 19.65.
Vazquez will represent his native country Puerto Rico in his first Olympic appearance. He turned in a personal-best performance of 3:37.60 in June to qualify for the 1,500 meter event in London.