El Pasoan Looking to Qualify for Olympics This Friday
The 2020 COVID-19 pandemic caused the 2020 Tokyo Olympics to get postponed. As recently as just a week or so ago, there was talk about postponing the Olympics again or outright cancelling them. It looks like they're moving forward with them however, as they're still scheduled to begin on July 23rd, and wrap up on August 8th.
Brian Barraza is looking to make his own trip to the Olympics as he is in Eugene, Oregon this week for the USA Track & Field Olympic Trials. Barraza placed fourth in his heat in the 3000 meter steeplechase. The top five finishers from the heat got an automatic bid in this Friday's final. Barraza isn't the only link from El Paso in the final heat on Friday. Anthony Riotch, a native of Kenya, graduated from UTEP in 2015. Riotch ended up becoming a US Citizen in 2019 and joined the US Army Reserve. Riotch finished 8th in his heat, but his time was good enough to get him into the final heat on Friday.
If you aren't familiar with the steeplechase, it's the race with obstacles. You know you've seen the blooper reels of people biffing it hard in the water.
The steeplechase originated in Ireland and it has runners race from steeple to steeple in the town because the steeples were easy to see because of their height. The runners would inevitably need to run over walls and rivers because of the terrain. In the current steeplchase, the official rules say there are to be 28 barriers and 7 water jumps.