Monday, June 25, 2012 | 8:14 p.m.
- UNLV assistant Khadevis Robinson just one race away from the London Olympics
- Rebels assistant coach Khadevis Robinson advances to semifinals at U.S. Olympic Trials
- UNLV’s Amanda Bingson going to the London Olympics in the hammer throw
- Rebels track coach, runner on pace for trips to Olympic Trials
- All UNLV Coverage
Thanks to a calm first lap and an exquisite kick around the final turn, UNLV assistant track coach Khadevis Robinson is going back to the Olympics.
After winning both of his preliminary heats leading into Monday night’s finals at the U.S. Olympic Trials in Eugene, Ore., Robinson ran a picture-perfect race to finish second in the 800 meters with a time of 1 minute, 44.64 seconds. He finished behind 2008 Olympian Nick Symmonds (1:43.92) and just barely edged out first-time Olympian Duane Solomon Jr. (1:44.65). Ryan Martin (1:44.9), who finished fourth, has the unenviable position of being the fastest American 800 runner not to make the U.S. team.
“We are so proud of Coach KD and his accomplishments,” UNLV track and field coach Yvonne Wade said in a statement. “He has trained very hard for this while coaching our Rebels and it just proves that if you set your mind to something it can be done. Two of our Rebel family members are representing us in London. We all should be very proud.”
The other Rebel already going to London is Amanda Bingson, a senior thrower who qualified in the hammer throw last week.
This is Robinson’s second trip to the Olympics after making the Athens team in 2004. Robinson just barely missed qualifying in 2000 and 2008, finishing fourth both times.
The heartbreak of that second fourth-place finish nearly drove him from the sport for good, but Robinson couldn’t bring himself to walk away. Not when he could tell that he clearly still had the stuff to compete on the highest level.
This year he didn’t run an open race (non-relay) until earlier this month at the Pre Classic in Eugene. When you get to be 35, Robinson said, you know if you’ve still got it; there’s no need to try to work into it.
So, he went into the trials with a calm spirit, knowing that he would either succeed or fail, and be OK with both. Competing on the same Hayward Field track that he ran on at the Pre Classic, Robinson stuck to the same routines, even down to staying at the same hotel. And though he readily admits that he was in better shape in 2008, things worked out better this time around.
The men’s 800 meters at the London Olympics begins on Monday, Aug. 6 with the medal round scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 9.
Robinson said the most important thing he learned from his first trip to the Olympics was to look around and take everything in. Now he’s eight years older and will likely be the one giving that advice to younger athletes.
They would be wise to listen to him.