Grandma comes third in 20K race walking event at US Olympic trials

Monday, July 01, 2024 - A Pennsylvania grandmother put up an impressive showing at the US Olympics’ Team trials over the weekend when she finished in third place in a race walking event.

Michelle Rohl, 58, clinched third place in the 20,000-kilometer race walking event in Springfield, Oregon on Saturday with a sharp time of 1:42:17.

Her impressive outing comes more than 20 years after she first walked away from the gruelling sport.

Rohl retired to homeschool her five children — who are now all grown, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

It also comes three months after her first grandchild was born.

"She’s an excited grandma," her husband Michael Rohl told the newspaper leading up to the race. "We get pictures every day of our little grandson."

Rohl’s competed in three Olympics already – 1992, 1996, and 2000 – but she never came close to taking third place.

Her top finish in those years was in 1996 when she took part in the 10K walk and finished in 14th place.

The four-time US champion in the 20K trained daily as she prepared for the trials even as she suffered a concussion last year and ongoing knee aches, the Inquirer reported.

She reportedly busted her chin a few weeks ago after she tripped and fell during a race that led up to the Olympic trials on Saturday, June 29.

But the injury didn’t slow her down.

"I just said, 'I have to stay on my feet and keep going forward,'" the new grandmother told the newspaper.

Rohl began her career as a distance runner in college before she switched to race walking because of Achilles tendon injuries.   

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