Ole Hesselbjerg was a three-time All-American in the 3,000-meter steeplechase during his decorated career at Eastern Kentucky University. Now, he will represent his native Denmark in that event at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio.
The Danish Federation announced Hesselberg’s selection to the Olympic team on Friday. The native of Charlottenlund, Denmark qualified with a time of 8:30.5, which he ran at Stanford’s Payton Jordan Invitational on May 1.
He is one of 45 men from around the world who will compete in the steeplechase in Rio.
Hesselbjerg is EKU’s first Summer Olympian since Jackie Humphrey-Corbin won the U.S. Olympic Trials in the 100-meter hurdles (12.83) and competed at the 1988 Games in Seoul, South Korea.
Former Colonel sprinter Dallas Robinson qualified for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia as a member of the U.S. Bobsled Team.
Hesselbjerg was a two-time NCAA bronze medalist in the 3,000-meter steeplechase (2014 and 2015), and he holds the EKU record in the event with an 8:33.2.
He was also a multiple-time Academic All-American and he graduated from EKU in May of 2015 with a degree in physics.
Fellow Dane Jakob Abrahamsen recently completed his sophomore year at EKU. The native of Aarhus, Denmark finished 11th in the finals of the NCAA steeplechase in June, and he came within a second breaking Hesselbjerg’s school record (8:34.0) at the NCAA East Regional in May.
Hesselbjerg and Abrahamsen represented Denmark in the steeplechase at the European Championships last week in Amsterdam.