When the U.S. Track and Field Olympic team trials kicked off Friday in Eugene, Oregon we knew we would see Olympic dreams become a reality. Monday, middle-distance runner Charles Jock accomplished that while becoming the embodiment of the American dream and perseverance.
Jock‘s parents Dr. John and Mary Jock risked their lives fleeing the famine and war of their native Sudan. Charles was born while his family was staying at a refugee camp in Ethiopia.
The Jock family moved from refugee camp to refugee camp until they were granted asylum in the United States and settled in San Diego.
Charles attended Mission Bay High School where he thrived in more than one sport. In 2007, Jock was a member of the Buccaneer’s basketball team that took home the Division II CIF title. The following year he won the 800-meter CIF State Championship. He still holds school records in the 400 and 800m.
Jock continued his track career at the University of California Irvine where he was a three-time All-Big West Athlete of the Year, 2011 NCAA Outdoor runner-up, finished third at the USA Outdoors his junior year and won the NCAA 800m title in 2012.
Four years ago at the Olympic trials for the London games, Jock was a favorite to make the US team when a hamstring injury he’d been dealing with flared up while he was on the backstretch and he finished last.
Fast forward to Monday where Jock, who is now a member of the Oregon Track Club, was the last athlete to qualify for the 800m finals and was once again dealing with a hamstring issue.
But this time, things went his way.
The 26-year old was running second to last with 200-meters to go but turned on the burners to finish third with a time of 1:45.48 and qualify for the US Olympic team.
You can watch Charles Jock finish his journey from Ethiopia, to San Diego, to Rio August 5th on NBC 7 when the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics begin with the Opening Ceremony. The first round of the Men’s 800m is scheduled for Friday August 12th.