Olympic athlete has local connection

 

Freedom New Mexico

Here’s another reason to watch the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, which officially start tonight with the opening ceremonies.

Former Tucumcari resident Amber Campbell will compete for the U.S. in the women’s hammer throw.

Her qualifying round is Aug. 18. Finals for the women’s hammer throw are on Aug. 20.

Campbell’s personal record is 70.33 meters or 230 feet, 6 inches. She finished second at the U.S. Olympic trials.

Campbell, 27, lived in Tucumcari from 1983 to 1995. She was in Tucumcari Middle School when the family moved to Indianapolis, where her father Mike owns a trucking company.

She was a five-time NCAA All-American at Coastal Carolina in Myrtle Beach, S.C., where she now lives.

Her years in Tucumcari “played a key role” in her success today, Campbell said.

“It sparked my love for athletics. There was always something to do, even if it was only kickball in front of the house. There was always a game to participate in.”

Of course, it didn’t hurt that she grew up in a sports family. Her brothers, Donnie and Mike Jr., were standout college basketball players. Her mom and dad, Mike and Evette Campbell, played in the adult softball leagues.

Having an Olympian with eastern New Mexico ties has happened before.

Former Eastern New Mexico University great Mike Boit won a bronze medal in the 800 meters for Kenya in the 1972 Olympics in Munich.

Boit helped ENMU win NAIA national cross country titles in 1973 and 1974. He was the individual champion in 1974 and 1975. He also was a track standout at Eastern.

His nephews, Felix Boit and Kennedy Baiywo, run cross country and track at ENMU.

Amber Campbell is writing a blog, which can be found at:

http://ambercampbellthrows.blogspot.com/