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After her impressive Olympic debut, Jenny Barringer has returned to Boulder to complete her senior year at CU and compete as a Buff for the last time.
The cross country runner competed in the 3,000-meter steeplechase in Beijing, where the event appeared in the Olympics for the first time. After finishing third at the U.S. Olympic trials and setting an American record in her ninth place finish in the Olympic final, Barringer said she was incredibly proud of the way she performed.
“My coach and I could look each other in the face and say, ‘This season is the best we could ask for,’” Barringer said.
Barringer arrived in Beijing on Aug. 1 and spent just over a day there before flying to the training camp. She said that when the team returned to Beijing, the skies were blue and she was excited to compete.
Although she did not get to witness much of the opening ceremonies, Barringer was able to watch the most important part of the event.
“I got to see the torch lighting, and I realized I was involved in something bigger than myself,” Barringer said.
When Barringer arrived in the Bird’s Nest for the finals of the steeplechase a week later, the stadium was packed. After the race, she waited to see her time. When she realized she broke the American record, the U.S. section of the stands went crazy.
Despite not winning a medal, Barringer said she felt supported and appreciated by her country.
“I felt like thousands of people were paying attention to 9th place,” Barringer said.
Now back in the United States, Barringer is taking a little over two weeks off from running to relax and catch up with friends and school. But she will always have an experience full of stories from the two weeks she spent in China.
She spent her 22nd birthday overseas, and got to go to a traditional birthday meal with a Chinese family. She also met some players from the men’s Olympic basketball team in the dining hall one night and was able to eat dinner with them.
Barringer has yet to decide if she will run this cross country season for the Buffs. She said that she wants to ease into things and just play it by ear. However, she has decided that she wants to compete in the next Summer Olympics in London in 2012.
Her final piece of advice to share from her Beijing experience was something she learned from watching the men’s gymnastics finals. She said that even though the broadcast focuses on one event, there is so much energy and so many things going on.
“Everyone should go to an Olympic event in their life- it’s nothing like what you see on TV,” Barringer said.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Kelly Kirksey at firstname.lastname@example.org.