Blumberg off the Bench
The competition for Patrick Stroupe is no walk in the park. The Central Methodist student is a four time NAIA National Champion in a sport most people probably don't know much about. Stroupe recently earned a chance to walk his way into the 2008 Olympics, and he turned a joke into multiple National Championships.
"We'd make fun of her doing it and I was the best at making fun of her... So I got to do it," Stroupe says.
He's talking about racewalking... A sport where you attack the track one step at a time.
"He's an 8 time Heart of America conference champion," says Stroupe's coach, Nate Rucker. "He's a 4 time NAIA national champion... 2 time indoor, 2 time outdoor....and he's a 7 time All-American both indoor and outdoor.
"The rules are you have to have one foot on the ground at all times or one foot in contact with the ground and then your knee has to be locked from the time your foot touches the ground until it passes under your body," says Stroupe.
He's got a secret to his success... he doesn't watch his feet. The magic motion is in his hips.
"I can wiggle my hips pretty good. I watched some videos and they said you want to wiggle your hips as much as possible," says Stroup. "His form is pretty close to being flawless. I've never seen a judge even warn him," says Rucker. Stroupe lives life just like practice... one foot in front of the other.
On March 12th, 2006, his family lost it all when a tornado riped through their small hometown of Armstrong.
"We lost our house and my dad lost his business, so it was tough, but it gave us a chance to reevaluate somethings and start over," he says.
They started over with a little bit of help... The CMU track team raised about $3000 in an event called the 'Stroupe-A-Loop.'
"We're getting close to being done with that and happy to have something again," Stroupe says.
"It's cool to see how a family can rebuild after that and how they've done it all themselves,"says Geoff Karhoff, Stroupe's racewalker teammate.
His family's house in Armstrong is almost complete, just like Stroupe's college career.
"He took it just like he handles everything else... He took it a step at a time," says Karhoff.
The upcoming summer will be quite busy for the recent college graduate. In June Stroupe competes at the USA outdoor track and field championships. In July he'll walk down the aisle with his high school sweetheart. But before taking his vows, Stroupe will go for his 5th NAIA Championship on May 24th in Fresno, California.