Northwest Georgia’s ties to the Tokyo Olympics: From Darlington to Shorter to Trion High, two have medals to prove their mettle; a third is a rising star.

Northwest Georgia’s ties to the Tokyo Olympics: From Darlington to Shorter to Trion High, two have medals to prove their mettle; a third is a rising star.

 Above from US Gymnastics: “Brody Malone wraps up his Tokyo campaign on a strong note with a 4th-place finish in the Horizontal Bar Final! This is the 5th straight Olympics the 🇺🇸 men have placed top-5 in the event! Way to go, Brody! #Tokyo2020

Brody Malone:

Sure you know Brody Malone is from Summerville and graduated from Trion High School in 2018. And you probably know that he is part of the Team USA Men’s Gymnastics. And you may have cheered the team on this past week when members placed fifth at the Tokyo Olympics. And you probably know that he placed 10th in the all-around competition, and fourth in the high bar, just missing a bronze medal. But did you know he has a skill that will likely be named after him? Here’s how it is described:  This mount on the parallel bars features a “forward uprise with Stutz that finishes in a sideways handstand on one rail.”

And did you know he also competed on the Cartersville Twisters Gymnastics club team from 2014-18? And did you know that some of his previous athletic skills were rodeo tricks such as roping (or heading and heeling), carrying on a tradition begun by his father, who competed in the rodeo for Georgia Southern University?  The son of John and the late Tracy Malone (she died of cancer in 2012), he has three siblings, Cooper, Tyler, and Briley. Hobbies have been reported to be bow hunting, frog hunting, fishing, and of course, rodeo. This Stanford University Management Science and Engineering major, expected to graduate in 2022, has a bright future.

Paul Chelimo:

You may have heard that Paul Kipkemoi Chelimo came to the USA from Kenya to run for the Shorter Hawks in 2010 and 2011, when the team won the NAIA National Indoor Championship and the NAIA Men’s Outdoor Track and Field Championship. And you may have heard Chelimo later transferred to and then graduated from, the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and went on to obtain citizenship while serving as a Specialist in the U.S. Army as a member of the Army’s World Class Athlete Program. 

But did you know that well-known local runner and coach Jay Stephenson, co-owner of GoGo Running in Rome, was his coach and recruited Chilemo came to the United States? Stephenson says that previous Rome residents Jay Baucom and wife, Janet Cherbon-Bawcom (Cherbon-Bawcom is a Kenyan like Chilemo) were on a recruiting trip for him in Kenya when they saw Chilemo run a 5k race. “Bawcom was the most enthusiastic he’d ever been about a runner. He told me that even though Chilemo had very little experience, he was a natural who was going to make a name for himself. We recruited him right away as a natural freshman at Shorter. When he got to Rome he knew next to nothing about track and field in America, but he had this amazing, God-given talent. It was my pleasure to help bring that talent to the forefront.”

On August 8 in Tokyo, Chelimo leaned across the finish line and fell to the ground just .12 seconds ahead of Kenya’s Nicholas Kipjorir Kimeli to win the bronze medal for the 5000m. He fell across the finish line in a similar way in the 2016 Rio Olympics to win silver. His last visit to Rome was in 2017 when Stephenson invited him to speak at the GoGo Running High School All-Area Banquet and also to appear at the River City Bank/Rome Half Marathon the next day.

Says Stephenson: “He brought his 2016 Rio medal with him to Rome and our local athletes were extremely inspired. It is clear he made a big impact because I’ve gotten a ton of messages from local folks who remember meeting him and were excited to see him run in Tokyo.”

Jane Campbell:

You probably know that Darlington School graduate Jane Campbell has had a stunning soccer career, including being on the roster for the bronze-winning women’s soccer team in Tokyo (she didn’t play in Tokyo, but as a team member she earned a medal). You may have read that, at age 17, she became the youngest goalkeeper ever called to a national training camp for the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team. Or that she was named a “Women’s Soccer Game-Changer” by Sports Illustrated, and the 2012 Player of the Year by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America, all before she graduated from Darlington. But did you know that Campbell was on the Darlington Headmaster’s List in 2010 and was a member of the National Honor Society in 2012?

Campbell came by her athleticism and competitive spirit naturally. Mother Chrystal rowed crew at the Naval Academy, father Mike played hockey and rowed crew at Wesleyan University in Connecticut, and both were fighter pilots in the United States Navy. Campbell followed her grandfather and great-great-grandfather to Stanford University in 2013 after graduation from Darlington.

At Standford Campbell was named to the 2016 NSCAA All-American Team in her senior year. Afterward, Campbell was named to the 2016 U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team, an honor soon followed by being drafted into the National Women’s Soccer League by the Houston Dash where she has played since 2019. In 2017 Campbell was named a finalist for NWSL Rookie of the Year.

According to Darlington School’s Director of Communications Tannika King, “I remember interviewing Jane in 2010 when she first came to Darlington and she told me her goal was to make it to the Olympics and medal. She has worked incredibly hard to make her goal a reality and her entire Darlington family is so proud of her. Jane represents our country, the State of Georgia, and our school community well and — as a role model for our current student-athletes — continues to show that focus, determination, and hard work pays off.”



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