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Shane Beamer on Nyck Harbor possibly competing in Olympic Games: ‘It would be really, really cool for our university’

Griffin Goodwynby:Griffin Goodwyn05/20/24

When South Carolina football had its spring practice, a few players on the team’s fall roster were not actively on the field.

Some, like Rocket Sanders and Juju McDowell, were recovering from severe injuries. While most of the Gamecocks’ incoming freshmen enrolled early, others opted to arrive on campus in the summer.

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But Nyck Harbor had a much more unique reason for missing the early part of South Carolina’s preseason. The dual-sport athlete had obligations with the school’s track and field team, whose outdoor season ran through the spring.

Harbor has long had lofty goals for what he would like to accomplish on the track. Chief among them is the opportunity to run in the Olympic Games.

Beamer expressed his support of Harbor’s Olympic efforts last Tuesday night during the Spartanburg stop on the Welcome Home Tour.

“It would be really, really cool for our university, for our football program, for our track program, but most importantly, for Nyck,” Beamer said. “I know how passionate he is about track. He’s a great young man (and) so humble as well, so I’m hoping it happens.”

Harbor has ran well for the South Carolina track and field team this season. But he still has a little ways to go before earning an automatic qualifier for the 2024 U.S. Olympic Trials, which begin on June 21 and run through June 30.

Harbor recorded a personal best wind-legal time in the 200-meter dash on May 9, the first day of the SEC Outdoor Championship. He completed the race in 20.47 seconds, earning a place in the event’s finals in the process. According to USA Track & Field, the automatic qualifying time for the 200-meter dash is 20.30 seconds.

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He also came within striking distance of USA Track & Field’s automatic qualifying time for the 100-meter dash, which is 10.05 seconds. Harbor recorded a time of 10.12 seconds at the USC Open, which took place on April 20. South Carolina track’s next event is May 22, the NCAA East Regionals in Lexington, Kentucky.

Beamer said Harbor’s plans for the summer haven’t changed as he works towards improving his times in those events.

“You know, (I) watched on television the SEC meet down in Gainesville this past weekend. I talked to Nyck’s mom yesterday. We talked about a couple non-football related things,” Beamer said last week. “But he and I will kind of touch base here this week at some point.”

The 2024 Summer Olympics, which are taking place in Paris, France, will last from July 26 to August 11. This will dip into the start of South Carolina’s fall camp, where players are tentatively set to report on August 1.

Beamer acknowledges that Harbor’s potential involvement in the Olympics could set him behind as the Gamecocks prepare for the regular season. But he also understands what it could mean not just for Harbor personally, but the University of South Carolina as a whole.

“It wouldn’t be great from a football standpoint because of the amount of time that he would miss with football. But he and I have talked about it,” Beamer said. “We met in my office at the end of spring practice, and I told him that, ‘If you could get a chance to run in the Olympics, that is so cool and something that would be really, really awesome for him and our entire university.”

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