EUGENE, Ore. – Former Coppin State University student-athlete Christina Epps punched her ticket to Rio on Thursday when she placed second at the United States Olympic Team Trials for the Women’s Triple Jump at the historic Hayward Field with a mark of 14.17m/ 46-6.
Epps, a 2014 graduate was more than ecstatic about qualifying for her first Olympics.
“I really can’t describe this feeling, it’s so unreal,” Epps said. “Happy doesn’t do my level of excitement justice. I’ve been through so much throughout my career. I’m just grateful God has given me this opportunity to pursue my dreams.” [easyazon_infoblock align=”right” cart=”y” identifier=”B011DSF6RO” locale=”US” tag=”hbcusports-20″]
After fouling her first two attempts, Epps landed a 45-5 in the third round, earning three more attempts. Again with the pressure mounting, and opportunities dwindling, Epps came through on her fifth jump.
“Oh man, my stomach was dropping,” Epps said. “I had butterflies and I was just like, ‘Please just let it be 14.15m.’ I think I can go further. I’m excited.”
It’s been 20 years since the United States has sent three ladies at one time to compete in the triple jump in the Olympics. Keturah Orji, from New Jersey, and Andrea Geubelle also qualified in the triple jump for the U.S. Olympic Team. Olympic triple jump competition is currently scheduled to start August 13 at 9:40 a.m.
“Being the first Olympian of the best HBCU on the planet, my alma mater, Coppin State means the world to me,” Epps said. “I hope I’ve not only made my school proud but have inspired my fellow Coppinites to know that it doesn’t matter where you come from or what other people are doing, but with God, the right mindset, hard work, and dedication anything is possible!
“My experience at U.S. Olympic trials was an amazing experience, something I can’t describe in words. It was my first trials and definitely one I will never forget. I’ve been chasing the dream of making an Olympic Team since 2012, when I tore my ACL. Watching the 2012 Olympic Trials at home when I was injured made me realize how much I had taken my talent for granted and motivated me to work harder to achieve my goal of making an Olympic Team!”
Epps is an academic advisor within the Coppin athletic department and continues to train where she is guided by her former collegiate coach, and Interim Athletic Director of Coppin State University Alecia Shields-Gadson.
“She showed up and God showed out,” Shields-Gadson said. “It is such an honor to represent your country, your family and Coppin State University. This has truly been a journey and Christina has persevered and is reaping the benefits of the hard work, sacrifices, and discipline it takes to be a world class athlete. We are still taking it all in, but that will be short lived as its back to Coppin to resume training.”