AmbroseZine | June 2021
In 2017, Michael Ohioze – the most decorated Track and Field athlete in St. Ambrose University history – credited his career to the relay teammates who pushed and were pushed by him.
"Working on that team where the other guys were putting in as much work and believed I could do more than I thought I could was crucial," Ohioze said of his status as a 10-time Track and Field NAIA All-American. "As much as people see track as an individual sport, there are so many team aspects. We work together and help each other perform better."
Appropriately then, Ohioze – a native of Great Britain who earned his SAU Bachelor of Arts degree in Physical Education in May 2017 – is headed to the Olympic Games in Tokyo as a member of Britain's 4x400m relay team.
Ohioze this week was named one of five members of the relay team after finishing third (46.42 seconds) in the 400 meters of his country's Track and Field Olympic trials, the Müller British Championships in Manchester, England. See all U.K. Track and Field results
That same day, fellow SAU Track and Field standout Anthony Peters '18, '20 MSEP competed in Eugene, Oregon, for a spot in the 20K racewalk of the U.S. Olympic team, finishing 15th with a time of 1:47:40. See all U.S. Track and Field results
"June 26 was a pretty wild day," SAU Track and Field head coach Dan Tomlin '06, '10 MBA said of watching two former Bees vie for opportunities in the Tokyo Games on the same day.
Ohioze will become what is believed to be the second SAU Olympian when he takes to the track in Tokyo (the games run July 23-August 8). Kim Clarke '91 competed in women's handball over three Olympiads before and after a storied SAU athletics career in softball and women's basketball.
What's more? Ohioze didn't even come to St. Ambrose to compete in track; he was an all-conference soccer player who joined the Track and Field squad to stay fit during soccer's offseason.
"Everything took off from there," he said in 2017.
Tomlin said Ohioze's journey to Tokyo is a credit to dedication and to talent.
"On the one hand, you're like ‘Holy heck, how in the heck did this kid who had never run track before just make an Olympic team? It's just crazy. How the heck do we have an Olympian at St. Ambrose?'" the coach said. "He had a lot of fun on the team and he got a lot better. The guys on the team made it fun for him to run and that kind of motivated him to do more.
"I don't know if there's anything I can say that's enough about how proud of him I am. He just continued to work harder and harder and harder to put himself in this position."
As much as anything else, Tomlin said the work ethic displayed by both Ohioze and Peters over five years of training for these pandemic-delayed Olympics speaks to the dedication they brought to St. Ambrose and also took away from their Ambrosian experiences.
"That's a long time, and Anthony found out pretty fast that training is a darned hard thing to do when you're by yourself and you don't have your team," said the coach. "Everybody wants to do it but you have to be willing to do the work."