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30th May 2008

Olympic hopeful at Exeter College

Garrett Johnson is a 2006 Rhodes Scholar at Exeter College, but he is also a champion shot-putter. Johnson won the 2006 NCAA Indoor and Outdoor Shot Put Championship – and he will know by the end of June whether he is to represent the United States in the Beijing Olympics.

Speaking at the College on Wednesday March 5th, 23-year-old Johnson described the differences between being an athlete at Florida State University and at Oxford, where athletes have to make most of their arrangements for training and matches without help from others.

In June, Johnson will complete his exams for a Master’s degree in Migration Studies, which has focused on the study of sport as a tool for integration of refugees in their host countries. Within days of completing his exams, he will compete for selection for the Olympic team.

Johnson spoke in Exeter College Chapel – as Sir Roger Bannister, another Exeter College student, did last autumn. He amused his audience by describing how he had acquired a kilt in order to compete in Highland Games in Scotland – and rivetted them by demonstrating along the Chapel’s Victorian Gothic nave the exact movements required for putting a shot. Luckily, he was empty-handed.

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