Carvin Nkanata’s unusual Olympic journey ended Tuesday, a week after it appeared to end for the first time.
The Kenyan sprinter, who is originally from South Carolina and trains at IMG Academy, won an appeal Monday to compete in the 2016 Summer Olympics and was in Brazil by Tuesday morning to run in his heat for the 200-meter dash. Nkanata, however, ran more than a full second slower than his personal best and finished only eighth in his heat. He did not qualify for the evening’s semifinals.
Nkanata was originally ruled ineligible for the Olympics due to a passport issue and spent the next week searching for a way to run in his first Olympiad.
Nkanata enlisted the help of Charleston, S.C., attorney John Kern to make an appeal to the International Olympic Committee, according to The Post and Courier, and was granted his spot in the 200 meter dash Monday. Nkanata flew to Rio de Janeiro Monday and landed in Rio just hours before he was slated to run.
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“He’s an Olympian and now he gets five days to be in the Village and be an Olympian,” Kern told the Charleston newspaper. “I just spoke with his father. They are beside themselves. They are so happy.”
Nkanata’s personal-best time of 20.14 is the Kenyan record and matching that mark would have given him the fourth best qualifying time in the heats. His 21.43-second run instead placed him last in his heat. The slowest qualifying time was Matteo Galvan’s 20.58.
Nkanata ran at Pittsburgh and has been representing Kenya, his father’s birth nation, since 2012. His best international performance came at the 2014 African Championship in Athletics, where he won a bronze medal in the 200.
The 25-year-old been training at IMG since graduating Pitt in 2014 with his sights set upon the 2016 Olympics. The path was far from ideal, but Nkanata still got to fulfill part of his Olympic dream.