Badgers Ziemek punches ticket to Rio - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Badgers Ziemek punches ticket to Rio

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EUGENE, Ore. (Per UW Athletics) – Wisconsin men’s track and field senior Zach Ziemek qualified for the 2016 Rio Olympics on Sunday as he finished third  in the decathlon with a career-best 8,413 points at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials to earn one of the three spots on Team USA in the event.

After setting a first-day personal-best score on Saturday, Ziemek continued his success on Sunday at Hayward Field, winning the discus with a heave of 158 feet while recording the competition’s best pole vault clearance of 17-2 3/4.

“Good things happen to good folk who do the things the right way,” UW Director of Track and Field and Cross Country Mick Byrne said. “Zach never lost focus on fulfilling his Olympic dream. He’s had a fantastic year winning the NCAA title in the heptathlon and finishing second last month in the decathlon at NCAA outdoors. He epitomizes everything about what we stand for at Wisconsin. His preparation is meticulous, consistent and unwavering. Every time he goes out there, he believes in his training and his preparation.

“Congrats to Zach and his event coach, Nate Davis.”

- Ziemek becomes the 17th Olympian in UW men’s track and field history and the first to compete in the decathlon at the Summer Olympics.

- Ziemek’s score of 8,413 points broke his previous personal-best score of 8,300 points set three weeks ago at Hayward Field at the 2016 NCAA Outdoor Championships.

- ‘Double Z’ is the third with UW ties to qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympics this weekend as Kelsey Card made the U.S. team in the  discus on Saturday. In addition, incoming swimming transfer Cierra Runge will compete for the U.S. in the 800-meter freestyle relay.

- Ashton Eaton, the world record holder in the decathlon, won the event with 8,750 points while Jeremy Taiwo was second with 8,425 points.

- Eaton, Taiwo and Ziemek will represent the United States in the decathlon at the 2016 Rio Olympics on Wednesday, August 17 and Thursday, August 18. Ziemek and Taiwo will make their Olympic debuts, while Eaton won gold at the 2012 London Olympics.

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