Latter-day Saint Life

Latter-day Saint runner qualifies for the Olympics 6 days before his temple marriage

BYU's James Corrigan, left, is pictured with his fiancee, Ashley Nolan at the Penn Relays Summer Showcase on June 29, 2024. The couple has plans to be married at the Saratoga Springs Utah Temple on July 5, 2024.
Ting Jui "Justin" Tseng

For BYU’s James Corrigan, the last two weeks have felt like “a dream.”

The 22-year-old sophomore from Los Angeles, California, knew he was an “underdog” in the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the U.S. Olympic Trials on June 23, but he shocked everyone by finishing third in the finals.

Although he finished third, Corrigan’s time at the trials (8:26.78) was short of the Olympic qualifying standard of 8:15.00, and he wasn’t ranked among the top 36 in the world. This set off a mad scramble to get Corrigan to the Penn Relays Summer Showcase in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on Saturday, June 29, where he would have one final chance to qualify for the Paris Olympic Games ahead of the June 30 deadline.

On a hot and humid night in Philadelphia, the Latter-day Saint returned missionary not only qualified with a time of 8:13.87, but he set a new BYU school record and recorded the 13th fastest time in the world this year.

“When I crossed the line, I was so so excited,” Corrigan said. “It was such a relief to see it all come together.”

The amount of pressure on Corrigan to perform was “unreal,” said Ed Eyestone, BYU director of track and field.

“To finish in the top three at the Olympic Trials, then being asked to essentially run sub 8:15.00 and also to come out here in not ideal weather conditions and perform like he did was amazing,” Eyestone said. “He had the confidence and faith to get the job done. With two laps to go, I could tell he was tired but could also smell his Olympic berth. It was an impressive performance.”

As thrilled as Corrigan is to be going to the Olympics, he is looking forward even more to his upcoming marriage to Ashley Nolan at the Saratoga Springs Utah Temple on Friday, July 5.

“Regardless of how I was going to run, I knew I had my marriage to look forward to,” Corrigan said. “For everything to exponentially happen as it did, it’s pretty dang cool to be able to share some of these experiences with her. It reminded me that regardless of how I did—and she let me know this—that she would be excited for me and we would celebrate everything together. I love her because she doesn’t care how I do, and she is so excited to see me meet my goals and is excited to support me. So having both of these things happen at once is an awesome deal.”

You can read the full story on Church News here.

► You may also like: ‘That’s what love sounds like’—BYU coach cheering her athlete on to the Olympics will make you cry

For more stories of Latter-day Saints qualifying for and competing in the Paris 2024 Olympics, click here.

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