UNCG Magazine

Spartan Paul Chelimo and Olympic spirit

Photo of Paul Chelimo

If you saw Paul Chelimo ’12 compete when he was a Spartan runner, you know he goes all out.

If you saw him putting in his 500-hour internship helping refugees as a public health major – while maintaining his high GPA and grueling running routine, you know he goes all out.

And if you saw him racing toward the finish line in Tokyo, stride for stride with runner Nicholas Kimeli for the Olympic Bronze Medal, you just knew he’d find a way.

And he did.

See race at this link.

With a lean, turning into a lunge, then a plunge. Perhaps a little banged up, he lay there, his eyes toward the scoreboard.

He’d earned his way to the medal ceremony by a margin of .12 second. It was the second-fastest 5,000-meter final in history. Chelimo ran a personal best time of 12:59.05.

And he became the first American man to win multiple Olympic medals in the 5,000 meters. It was the perfect complement to his Olympic silver medal from the 2016 Olympic games. He is the first Spartan to participate in the Olympics.

With two Olympic medals in hand, his standards are rising higher.

“I am just going to pick it up from here going forward. Paul Chelimo is the name, running is the game, so I am always going to show up and medal, don’t count me out.”

By Mike Harris ’93 MA
Photography: Getty images, courtesy UNCG Athletics

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