RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil - Former UC Davis student-athlete and coach Kim Conley embarks on her second trip to the Olympics when she competes on Tuesday morning in the 5,000-meter run at the Olympic Stadium in Rio de Janeiro.
Conley, who will race in the first of the event's two heats at 5:30 a.m. (PDT), punched her ticket to Brazil with a third-place finish at the U.S. Olympic Track & Field Trials at Hayward Field in early July. She’s being joined by fellow Americans Molly Huddle and Shelby Houlihan, who went 1-2 in the race at the trials.
Conley used an inspired finish at the Olympic Trials in 2012 to not only earn the third and final American berth to the London Games in the 5,000 with a time of 15:19.80, but also slipped under the Olympics “A" qualifying standard she needed in order to actually compete.
She lowered her PR to 15:14.48 during her heat of the opening round in London but was 12th and did not advance to the final. Since then, she’s grown her presence on the international stage, competing at the IAAF World Championships among her many elite showings.
Conley positioned herself well during the 5k final at this year’s Olympic Trials before moving into a coveted top-three position on the final lap and finish in 15:10.62. She has a PR of 15:08.61 in the event.
Seventeen runners are in Conley’s heat with the top five finishers in each race and the next five fastest runners overall moving to Friday’s final at 5:40 p.m. She enters Tuesday with the fifth-fastest time (15:10.62) this year.
A 2004 graduate of Montgomery High School, Conley competed for UC Davis from 2004 through 2009, then served as a volunteer assistant coach for both cross country and track programs for five more seasons.