OLYMPIC SPOTLIGHT: Deena Kastor

Event: Marathon

Date: Sunday, August 17

Deena (Drossin) Kastor was the first Arkansas Razorback women’s track and field athlete to qualify for the Olympic Games when she made the Team USA squad for the 2000 Sydney Olympiad. Competing for Arkansas from 1992-1996, she took her abilities to another level when she turned pro following her senior season.

While donning an Arkansas uniform, Kastor was a 10-time All-American and a seven-time SEC title winner. On Sept. 7, 2001, Kastor became the fifth woman inducted into the Arkansas Hall of Honor and the second athlete with a connection to the Razorback women’s cross country team.

Kastor picked up her first international title win with the 1997 World University Games gold medal in the 10,000 meters at the Italian-hosted games.

Her efforts as a pro athlete earned her a spot on several world cross country teams, where she won two silver medals (2002 and 2003) and a 2000 Olympics berth, but the crowning achievement came at the 2004 Athens Games. Kastor achieved her dream of winning an Olympic medal when she took the bronze in the marathon. Her appearance in the marathon in Beijing will mark her third Olympic Games.

Kastor won the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials in her signature event with a time of 2:29.35. After trailing eventual runner-up Magdalena Lewy Boulet by nearly two minutes at the half-way point, Kastor’s strong surge over the second half of the race propelled her to the win.

She became the first American woman to run under 2:20, winning the 2006 Flora London Marathon in 2:19:36, which smashed her own American Record of 2:21:16. Her winning time made her the fourth fastest woman ever in the marathon.

Kastor is the proud owner of the Olympic Trials record in the 10,000 meters which she set in 2000, the American record in the marathon (2:19.36, London, 2003) and the U.S. road race 5,000-meter record, set in Carlsbad, Calif.

Kastor was named USA Track and Field’s Jesse Owens Award winner in 2003. The Owens award is the highest accolade that the USATF hands out and goes to the most outstanding male and female athlete of the year. She also took VISA Humanitarian Athletes of the Year honors in 2002 for her community service where she spoke at more than 15 high schools and junior colleges as well as youth clinics and corporations.

Kastor will run the marathon in Beijing Sunday, Aug. 17. For complete results and details of the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, visit http://www.iaaf.org/OLY08/index.html. For more information on the Razorbacks in Beijing, visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com.

Career Highlights: 2004 Olympic marathon bronze medalist; 2003 Jesse Owens Award winner; two-time World Cross Country silver medalist (2002 and 2003); five-time U.S. 10,000-meter champion (2000, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2007); 2008 and 2001 U.S. marathon champion; five-time U.S. 15K champ; seven-time U.S. 8K cross country champion; 10-time NCAA All-American; seven-time SEC Champion.