Missouri's Uldal is Decathlon Dream

1 decade 3 years 4 months ago Sunday, May 07 2006 May 7, 2006 Sunday, May 07, 2006 10:44:22 PM CDT May 07, 2006 in Tiger Talk

Missouri track and field coach Rick McGuire says, "Hanne led to Runvai, who led to Espen, who led to Elle, who led to Knut, who led to Hans."

And the athletes just keep on coming, from a long way off. They all call Norway home.

Uldal says, "[It's] like we're recruiting Norwegian athletes to come over here. It's pretty much been a legacy in a way. One Norwegian is about to graduate and you try to get another Norwegian over here."

"I spent $75 in phone calls saying this is Coach McGuire from Missouri, do you want to come to Missouri? Good. I'll send the papers," says McGuire.

Easy recruiting, but it's led to athletes competing in the difficult decathlon, no matter the language.

"You gotta be a he-man. Strong, endurance, fast, coordinated, you have to do it all," says McGuire.

In the coach McGuire era, there's been only one Missouri Olympian while still on the track team. Uldal was there competing for Norway in 2004.

"It was great. Just going down there and competing against the best guys in the world," says Uldal. "It was awesome."

Throw out the record book. Recently, Uldal leaped a major milestone. Breaking the 8,000 point barrier.

"Ever since i was 13 and 14 that was something I wanted to do," Uldal says.

"In track and in the decathlon," says Mcguire, "It's the line of demarcation that says you are elite."

Elite like Hanne Anderson. The Norwegian high jumper who started it all still holds the Missouri high jump record. An even six feet. Anderson is back in Norway. A few years back, Coach McGuire passed through Oslo. Not on a recruiting trip, he just wanted to see Anderson to thank him for starting the Missouri-Norway connection. Uldal competes in the European Championships in mid-August.

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