We’re counting down the 25 best former Texas athletes still competing in their sport. Each day we’ll reveal a new athlete.
No. 10 Courtney Okolo, track and field
After winning multiple state track and field championships at Carrollton Newman High School, Courtney Okolo came to Texas and dominated her sport. In April 2016 she broke her own NCAA record when she ran the 400 meters in 49.71 seconds. She won consecutive 4×400 meter relay indoor championships and in 2016 won the same relay title in the outdoor championships. She finished her college career winning the Bowerman Award, essentially the Heisman Trophy of track and field.
Pro career: Following her career at Texas, Okolo qualified for the 2016 Olympics and was quickly put on the 4×400 meter relay team. That team unsurprisingly won gold at Rio Olympic Games. Although she technically wasn’t a pro before then, she won gold in 2013 at the Pan American Junior Championships in the 4×400 relay and the 400 meter. In 2016 and 2018 she won two gold medals at the World Indoor Championships and gold in 400 meters in 2018. She has never not won gold in the international events she’s competed in, including winning first in the 200 meter and 400 meters at the DecaNation event in Angers, France.
Why she’s here: There’s an argument to be made that the athletes who become the most famous over a two week period every four years at the Olympic Summer Games are the gymnasts and the sprinters, and Okolo is one of the best sprinters in the world. At 24, she’s the best American 400 meter sprinter. She has one gold medal already and will be just 26 and still in her prime when the next Olympics rolls around. Much like Ryan Crouser, who also made the list, Okolo is a an athlete who could be representing the US– and the University of Texas– in international competition for years to come.
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