Bryshon Nellum: Olympic Stud of the Day
The Olympic Stud of the Day was going to be Carmelita Jeter, for anchoring the U.S. women’s 4 x 100m relay team to redemption, a world record, a first win since 1996, and an awesome post-race interview, but after hearing the story of U.S. runner Bryshon Nellum, we had to reevaluate. Yes, the men’s 4 x 400m relay team finished second for the first time in 40 years (without Manteo Mitchell, who’d broken his fibula halfway through his leg of a preliminary race Thursday and finished and had himself been a replacement for LaShawn Merritt, who’d suffered a hamstring injury). But some things are more important than the color of a medal. Nellum was a freshman at USC when, on Halloween night 2009, he was shot in both legs. “I never really fell to the ground,” Nellum has said. “I hopped up and down on one leg to get away and to get to safety.” It would be six months before he could walk again, and a year before he’d compete. When he returned to running, he’d collapse on the track in pain. He underwent three additional surgeries, the most recent in August 2011. As his mother said, just being at the Olympics was like winning. That’s why his fellow athletes have chosen him to be the U.S. flagbearer at Sunday’s closing ceremony.