Decathlete Succeeds Away From Home
COLUMBIA - When Mizzou held its annual ROARS Awards to honor students athletes the winner for male athlete of the year wasn't a football or basketball player, it was a track athlete. His name is Lars Rise.
"Nobody goes by his actual name," said former Mizzou decathlete Nick Adcock, "we all kind of butcher it."
Lars Rise has uncommon talent. Four years ago he couldn't have found missouri on a map.
"Back home they call USA the country of opportunity. So, I wanted to try it," said Rise.
Coach Dan Lefever said, "I was lucky enough that Lars made a giant leap."
A leap,a throw and some vaulting, too. Rise is a decathlete and the reigning Outdoor Big 12 Champion.
"I honestly believe I don't think he'd be doing track right now if he didn't come here because when he came here he was really hurt," said Lefever.
"I had to stress fractures in my back," said Rise.
"Vertebrae that were supposed to be fused at the bottom of the back were not fused," said Lefever.
Rise healed his back at Mizzou and competed against and with some of the best talent in the nation. Nick Adcock won the Big 12 Decathlon Title in 2010.
"He was good at things that I wasn't," said Adcock. "I was good at things that he really wasn't and so we kind of kept pushing eachother in those events."
Rise's rise to the top has an unusual start at the bottom of his feet.
"I usually look at my socks and I can feel which socks are good for which events," said Rise. "I think I'm very certain about my socks. Some socks have a lot of speed I feel. Some socks have a lot of power."
"It sounds like a pretty important thing to him that I didn't know about," said Coach Lefever.
Coach does know rise has a shot at the ncaa championship. He heads in with the number four ranking in the nation.
"There are a few guys that are in position and you don't know who's going to go huge."
And after college Rise has his eyes on the 2012 Olympics representing his native norway.
"I think it would be a great honor to compete for the country with a flag on the chest," said Rise.
And the right socks on his feet.
"I've tried a lot of different socks through the years, but I think I've found the ultimate socks now," Rise said.
Lars says he has special training socks because he doesn't want to wear out his competition socks. Rise says what he misses the most back in Norway are his family, friends and skiing.