Elite Sports & Culture Week spotlight: Gary Morgan

Gary Morgan is to be among more than 20 elite athletes and coaches, including Olympians and Paralympians, in the Tiffin area Oct. 23-25 for Elite Sport and Culture Week hosted by Tiffin University, Mercy Health – Tiffin Hospital and Terra State Community College. For more information on Elite Sport & Culture Week and to learn how to meet Morgan and other Olympians, visit tiffin.edu/elite.

While many young individuals compete at the high-school level, only few reach the pinnacle of representing one’s country in the Olympics. Clarkston, Michigan-native Morgan is one of those talented few. He competed in the sport of race walking at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, South Korea, and was in Tiffin last weekend as grand marshal for the 2018 Heritage Day Parade before returning in October for Elite Sport and Culture Week.

After starting his athletic career by running on the high school cross country team, Morgan discovered competitive race-walking at the age of 15 at an Amateur Athletic Union event. Morgan has added climbing expeditions to his repertoire and has been competing or pacing distance events ever since, from Africa to Antarctica. He recently was named Michigan Runner of the Year for 2017.

In addition to the 1988 Games, Morgan has represented Team USA on 17 occasions, including six Olympic time trials, the International Association of Athletics Federation World Racewalking Championships, the Goodwill Games and the PanAmerican Games. He carried the Olympic torch during the 1996 Atlanta and 2002 Salt Lake City Games.

When training, Morgan would start prepping for every race by devouring mass amounts of pasta the night before, with orange juice the morning of a competition.

With being awarded Athlete of the Year in 1997 by New York Athletic Club, Morgan cemented his reputation of outstanding performance. His prestigious resume allowed him to be inducted in the Michigan Sport Hall of Fame as well. Other recognitions include achieving the Jackie Joyner Kersee Award for volunteering with track and field community services in 2011.

Morgan also enjoys sharing his endeavors publicly, as he takes full advantage of implementing an active social media presence. His Twitter account, @RunGaryRun, is full of personal interviews with current Olympic-level competitors as well as photos of his worldly travels. While he now is a USATF Athlete’s Advisory Committee officer to the U.S. Olympics, Morgan gets to witness today’s top athletes in the track-and-field sector, where these stories are shared to his more than 1,500 followers.

Morgan continues to race and pace around the world and has volunteered at several Olympics, including the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Games.

— submitted by Tiffin University