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Cardozo alums are heading to the Olympics in Rio

Cardozo alums are heading to the Olympics in Rio
Cardozo alum Dalilah Muhammad set an Olympic trials record with a 52.88 finish in the 400m hurdle finals Sunday.
Courtesy USA Track and Field
By Laura Amato

Eugene, Ore., is 2,929 miles from Cardozo High School, but those miles didn’t seem quite so far as New York City history was made at the USA Track and Field Olympic Trials Sunday.

Cardozo alums Dalilah Muhammad and Deajah Stevens both cemented themselves in the Judges’ history books, earning berths to the Olympic Games in Rio next month.

The two join 84 other first-time Olympians on this summer’s Team USA track and field roster.

Stevens, a three-time New York State Champion, tranferred to the University of Oregon at mid-year and was a bit of a wild card heading into the trials.

She tuned all of those questions out before the race, though, focusing on the challenge in front of her and, quite literally, sprinting towards it. Stevens placed second in the women’s 200m final, posting a 22.30 finish—almost two-tenths of a second faster than reigning gold medalist Allyson Felix.

“It hasn’t hit me yet,” Stevens told Team USA after the race. “I’m super excited, I’m speechless. I wasn’t expecting this, of course. I wanted it, but I wasn’t sure. I just went for it.”

While Stevens ran towards success at the trials, Muhammad hurdled over every obstacle in front of her.

The former Judges and USC star finally made good on her childhood dream of qualifying for the Olympics by putting on one of the most dominant performances of the entire week.

Muhammad not only won every one of the 400m hurdle heats she competed in, but, for good measure, set a trials record with a 52.88 finish in the finals. That time was also a personal best. It was more than enough to make her Dozo family back home in Queens proud.

14 and 15 were two very difficult years for me, just having personal problems in 14 to being injured in 15,” she said. In a statement released by Team USA, Muhammad went on to say, “I think my belief in myself kept me going, and knowing I could be better than I was in 2013. I just wanted to keep that going, and this year when it wasn’t going as planned I made a coaching change, and I’m grateful that I did. It was a hard decision to make, but it’s paid off. I’m so thankful for that.”

The pair will return to the track July 25 for the USA track and field pre-Olympic training camp. Then it’s on to the Games.

Both Stevens and Muhammad will, undoubtedly, have high expectations for their time in Rio and while the Cardozo athletic family would love to see either star bring back gold, the Judges are first and foremost proud that the duo made it to Rio.

An Olympic dream is never an easy one to accomplish and, for these former Dozo stars, getting there is a victory in and of itself.

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