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.
Jeffrey Julmis was born in Fort Lauderdale and has spent most of his life in the United States. But in Rio, as in the 2012 London Games, he’ll be competing for Haiti. Julmis is part of a small diaspora of American athletes with Haitian roots who hope to grow sports and increase funding in the disaster-ridden country with their Olympic efforts.
As a boy, Julmis dreamed of competing at the Olympics, but he took the long way around to the Games. First he went to Cloud County Community College in Concordia, where he ran a stellar 13.75 in the 110m hurdles, and got the attention of Kansas State’s coaching staff. In Manhattan, Julmis found a competitive track environment, and in Cliff Rovelto, a coach who put the athletes’ interests first. Julmis was so impressed he almost instantly became a Wildcat (video).
At Kansas State, Julmis made steady progress, becoming a three-time All-American in the indoor 110m hurdles event as well as in the outdoor event, despite beginning his career with a serious knee dislocation, and later, a blood clot from the knee surgery. Still, he persevered, and ultimately, he set a school record in the event in 2011 (13:50), and in 2012, he won the Big 12 60m high hurdles indoor title. He also qualified for the Olympics in London. Unfortunately, despite being an outside favorite to make the finals, he finished 38th in the event.
Julmis has since returned to Manhattan, where he is now a volunteer assistant coach for the men’s outdoor team. He’s also pursuing a pre-pharmacy degree. But while he may be preparing for a post-athletics future, Julmis is focused on his Olympic dreams for the moment.
In Rio, he’s part of a small Haitian contingent of just ten athletes who hope to make a splash on the biggest of big stages. He may not end up on the medals stand, but don’t count him out just yet. After all, he used to be Erik Kynard’s roommate, and he probably learned a thing or two about winning. He’ll take to the track on August 15th for the first round of the 110m hurdles event alongside another former Wildcat, Balazs Baji.