EMU - Former Eagle Nieto One Jump Closer to the 2012 London Olympics
Provided by EMU
YPSILANTI, Mich. (EMUEagles.com) — The Eastern Michigan University men's track and field team already has one former standout heading to the 2012 London Olympic Games and another one is on the threshold.
EMU alum Eric Alejandro has qualified for this summer's Olympics in the 400-meter hurdles and will be competing for his native Puerto Rico and now former All-American high jumper Jamie Nieto (nee-ET-toe) may be the next former Eagle heading to London.
Nieto, a 1999 EMU graduate and an EMU Athletic Hall of Fame inductee in 2012, hit the Olympic Games standard of 7-feet-7 inches in a third-place finish at the NYC Adidas Meet, held June 9 at Randall's Island, N.Y. That leap makes him eligible to compete for the United States at the London games, but he still must place in the top three at the U.S. Olympic Trials later this summer.
Nieto just missed qualifying for the 2008 Olympics after placing second in the Olympic Trials, but was not named to the team because he did not have the standard by the self-imposed USOC deadline. He did hit the standard, after the deadline, and was turned down in an appeal.
The 35-year-old Nieto holds the EMU men's track indoor high jump record of 7-feet-6 inches and the outdoor mark of 7-4.75 inches. He just missed earning a medal at the 2004 Olympic Games, clearing 7-feet-8 inches, the same height as the runner-up, but had more misses. It appeared as if he had a bronze locked up, but the Swedish favorite, passed his last jump at 7-8, getting only one try at 7-8.75, and making it to win. If he had missed, he would not have placed in the top three. His daring move in that competition cost Nieto a Bronze medal.
The opening ceremony for the 2012 London Olympics is scheduled for Friday, July 27, and will last until Sunday, Aug. 12. EMU has had a track representative at the summer Olympic Games since Hayes Jones in 1960. The Eagles have had 17 representatives in 52 years, 14 men and three women.
EMU's Track and Field Olympic Athletes
1960 - Hayes Jones
1964 - Hayes Jones
1968 - Dave Ellis
1972 - Hasely Crawford, Tony Nelson
1976 - Hasely Crawford, Deby Lansky LaPlante
1980 - Hasely Crawford
1984 - Earl Jones, Hasely Crawford
1988 - Tommy Asinga
1992 - Tommy Asinga
1996 - Paul McMullen, Tommy Asinga, Greg Rhymer, Sevatheda Fynes, Clement Chukwu
2000 - Clement Chukwu, Nduka Awazie, Fabian Rollins, Sevatheda Fynes
2004 - Jamie Nieto
2008 - Sasha Springer-Jones
2012 - Eric Alejandro