This past spring, several world-class sprinters from the United States, Jamaica, Belgium and Great Britain trained at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort alongside the very competitors they are now set to face at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Two-time gold medalist LaShawn Merritt (USA) and Andrew Riley (Jamaica) regularly train at the Disney sports complex under 2010 USA Coach of the Year Brooks Johnson. Merritt will compete in the men’s 200-meter, 400-meter and 4×400-meter relay in Rio, while Riley, in his first Olympic appearance, will try to earn a spot on the podium in the men’s 110-meter high hurdles.
Additionally, Christine Ohurogu (400-meter gold medal in Beijing 2008 and the 400-meter silver medal in London 2012) will represent Great Britain in the women’s 400-meter and 4×400-meter relay.
For Belgium, the 4x400m relay team, which won gold at the 2015 European Athletics Indoor Championships, is stacked with medal contenders. The Belgian sprinters tout four of the Borlée siblings in their company: twins Kevin and Jonathan, their brother Dylan, and their sister Olivia. Among them, they have 17 medals across the World Indoor Championships, the World Relay Championships, the European Championships and the European Indoor Championships.
Kevin, Jonathan and Dylan will make up three of the four legs of the Belgian men’s 4×400-meter relay team. Individually, Kevin will also compete in the men’s 400-meter, while Jonathan is slated to try for medals in the men’s 400-meter and 200-meter. Finally, Olivia will run in the women’s 200-meter.
The sprinting track and field events get underway Friday, Aug. 12.