Willie Becomes 17th Tiger to Qualify for Olympic Games
BATON ROUGE — LSU junior Kelly Willie became the 17th athlete with LSU ties to qualify for the 2004 Summer Games in Athens, Greece, Monday, earning a spot on the U.S. roster as a member of the 4×400-meter relay pool.
Willie, a native of Houston, Texas, was added to the team after finishing seventh in the 400 meters at the U.S. Olympic Trials in July. The only athlete at the Trials to clock three straight sub-45 second performances in the event, Willie topped the field in the quarterfinals, clocking a personal best 44.63, before posting times of 44.75 in the semifinals and 44.97 in the finals.
Willie is coming off an impressive sophomore campaign with the Tiger track and field team that saw him earn All-America accolades four times during the season. He earned runner-up honors in the 400 meters at the NCAA Outdoor Championships and anchored the Tigers to All-America honors in the 4×400-meter relay during both the indoor and outdoor seasons.
In 2003, Willie anchored LSU’s long relay to national titles during both the indoor and outdoor seasons and ran a leg on the Tigers’ national champion 4×100-meter relay team.
The Olympics begin this Friday with the Games’ opening ceremonies. The track and field portion of the competition will run August 18-29.