WCCO: Temi Ogunrinde, Former Gophers Hammer Thrower, Sets Sights On Olympics


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Nov 11, 2008
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per WCCO:

She’s the greatest hammer thrower in Gophers history. Now that Temi Ogunrinde’s college career is over, she’s setting her sights on the Olympics.

The list of accolades is as long as her record-setting throws: School record holder, Big Ten record holder, the only hammer thrower to ever win three straight Big Ten titles, a first-team All-American – and the person most surprised by it all is her.

“Honestly, there’s no reason in my mind. I still am wrapping my head around my whole career here, it’s just such a blessing because it doesn’t make sense how it all happened,” Ogunrinde said.

There is no hammer throw in high school track and field in Minnesota. Ogunrinde was a sprinter at Park Cottage Grove. Her Gophers coaches saw something and asked her to make the switch after her first semester.

“They just thought I was athletic enough to give it a shot,” Ogunrinde said.

How does a sprinter go from never having tried it to best ever in under four years?

“I can’t wrap my head around that,” Ogunrinde said.

In some ways, it makes her next pursuit seem rather small in comparison, except it’s the Olympics.

“So no longer maroon and gold, now green and white, and I’m trying to push for 2020,” Ogunrinde said.

The green and white of Nigeria. Though Temi was born in Minnesota, she’s training to try and earn a spot on the Nigerian national team for next summer’s Olympics. For her, the pursuit is bigger than sports. It’s personal.

“I wrestled with it in the beginning because I am Nigerian and I’m also an American, and those are two parts of me that I love dearly,” Ogunrinde said. “But when I really thought about it, I thought, what a cool way it would be to kind of honor my parents and my heritage.”


Go Gophers!!

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