Former SPC sprinter Vernon Norwood takes Olympic bronze

Vernon L. Norwood
Vernon L. Norwood(Facebook)
Published: Jul. 31, 2021 at 5:02 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Six weeks after qualifying to run 400 meter relays at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, Vernon Norwood, who sprinted for South Plains College 2012-13, anchored the United States to it’s first track and field medal of this year’s Games.

In the inaugural Mixed 4 x 400 metre relays, Norwood stood patiently as Kaylin Whitney loaned him the baton for the final stretch- being the fourth in the race to do so. Upon handoff, Norwood quickly moved the U.S. into silver medal position, a spot held for most of the race until he was edged out at the finish line by Alexander Ogando of the Dominican Republic. Only one-hundredth of a second separated him and his teammates for a silver medal. On the final leg of the relay, the former SPC Texan turned a 400m split time of 44.43 seconds, 3:10.22 for Team USA. Poland earned gold, crossing the finish line at 3:09.87.

Sharing space with Norwood and Whiney on the podium were Kendall Ellis and Trevor Stewart.

After his run at SPC, where he broke multiple school records, he transferred to LSU, which is 85 miles away from his hometown of New Orleans. There, he became a four-time NCAA champion.

The medal come for Team USA just 24 hours after they were initially disqualified as the baton was exchanged outside the changeover zone in the first round Friday. Hours later, the runners were reinstated along with the eventual silver medalists from the Dominican Republic. Norwood was not a part of that particular race.

Even though he did not qualify to compete individually, he can add more hardware later this week as the Men’s 4 x 400m relay gets underway. The heats are set to begin 6:25 a.m. CST. Friday.

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