Canes represent Miami and respective countries at 2008 Beijing Olympics

In sports, as in life, it seems that just about everyone is in some epic quest or another to attain gold. For each person the path is different, as some look for the easy way in, while others dedicate painstaking efforts into making these dreams a realization.

The latter can be attributed to the athletes from the University of Miami who were in Beijing competing in the 2008 Olympics. For these athletes, it had come time to put their years of practice, dedication and hard work together in an effort to represent their respective countries and the University of Miami.

The 2008 Olympics featured four current and five former Canes.

Incoming freshman diver Kelci Bryant competed for the United States in the women’s synchronized 3-meter diving completion, finishing just shy of a medal as she and her partner put together a fourth place performance. Senior diver Jenna Dreyer, of South Africa, was unable to get into her rhythm as she was could not get out of the preliminary round in the 3-meter springboard competition. She finished in 28th place.

Sophomore diver and the reigning men’s NCAA 3-meter springboard champion Reuben Ross competed in the 3-meter springboard and 10-meter platform competitions on behalf of Canada. In the 3-meter springboard, Ross was one of 18 to qualify for the semifinals, as he placed 13th in the preliminary round. An 18th place performance in the semifinals, though, ended Ross’s run. Ross placed 15th in the preliminary round of the 10-meter platform, making him one of 18 to get into the semifinals, where his 17th place finish did not qualify him for the finals.

Current Cane Felipe Novoa competed in Judo for his native Chile. Novoa, who has won a Pan American Championship and three South American titles in Judo, fell in the preliminary round despite a strong showing.

Former Hurricane Manon van Rooijen of the Netherlands competed in the 4X100-meter and 4X200-meter freestyle relays. In the 4X100, she and her team placed 2nd in the qualifier, before taking Gold in the finals, coming 0.57 seconds ahead of the silver medal United States squad. Van Rooijen did not enjoy the same success in the 4X200, though, as she and her squad were unable to get out of the qualifier, placing fifth.

In track-and-field, the world saw three former Hurricanes compete. Ginou Etienne represented Haiti in the 400-meters. A sixth place finish in her preliminary heat, though, left her one-and-done. Canadian Tabia Charles qualified for the long jump finals after a sixth place finish in the qualifying round. In the finals, Charles notched a 10th place finish.

Lauryn Williams of the United States was unable to qualify for the 4X100-meter finals, as she and her team finished in eighth place in their preliminary heat. Williams did put together a strong showing in the 100-meter, though. She tallied second place finishes in the first two rounds, qualifying for the semifinals, where she placed third. Williams looked to build on her success and she came very close to medaling, finishing fourth in the 100-meter finals.

Former Cane Zach Railey set sail for the United States, competing as a Finn class sailor. Railey put together a string of strong performances before placing sixth in the finals.

As the Olympic events and festivities come to an end, the hard work and dedication, the will and determination and the outstanding performances of all of these athletes will live on, serving as reminders to one and all to always put forth your best effort, as no obstacle is insurmountable.