Kansas State has a long tradition of success at the Olympics, dating all the way back to 1920. 24 Wildcats have represented their countries at the Olympics so far, winning eight medals in total. This year, seven current and former Kansas State track and field athletes have qualified for the 2016 Games in Rio. Over the next week, we'll introduce you to each of these Wildcats so you can root for them when they take the field.
"Run, Beverly, run!"
Like Forrest Gump, Beverly Ramos just wants to run. Unlike Forrest Gump, she began running because she was bored, and because it made her happy (link in Spanish). What started as a fun activity at a park in Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico, turned into a serious pursuit, then a college scholarship, and finally a chance to compete for her country at the Olympics.
Ramos came to Kansas State in the spring of 2007 and managed a Top 10 finish in the mile in just her first event as a Wildcat. Later that season, she broke the school record in the 3,000m steeplechase on her way to a 25th place finish at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. By the time she graduated in 2009, Ramos was a three-time All-American, and is currently in the top three all-time in several outdoor distance events, including the 1500m, the 3000m steeplechase, the 5000m, and the 10,000m.
Following her college career, Ramos has run a number of distance events on the international circuit. Her best results were at the Pan-American Games in 2010, where she took gold in the 5000m and the 3000m steeplechase, and also managed a bronze medal in the 1500m. She’s the owner of several Puerto Rican national records at various distances, and in 2012, she qualified for the London Olympics in the 3000m steeplechase, ultimately finishing 35th overall.
Ramos has since switched to the marathon, running to a 15th place finish in the New York City Marathon in 2015. Her time of 2:41:56 was good enough to earn her a place at the Rio Games, and she has since bettered that time, finishing in second place at the Düsseldorf Marathon earlier this year, with a time of 2:36:31, a new Puerto Rican record.
In her second Olympics but running the marathon for the first time on this big stage, Ramos is not expecting to medal. Her best time is several minutes off the gold medal pace from London, after all. Still, the Games are as much an experience as a competition, and Ramos, who still lives and trains in Manhattan, has embraced the fun of it all. For example, she got to meet Usain Bolt recently, and lived to tell about getting struck by lightning.