LARAMIE — University of Wyoming freshman swimmer Talita Te Flan will compete for the Ivory Coast in the 800-meter freestyle in Rio De Janeiro Thursday. Te Flan will race in the first of four preliminary heats, slated to begin at 10:26 a.m.
Born to an Italian mother and Ivorian father, Te Flan holds dual citizenship in Italy and the Ivory Coast. She represents the Ivory Coast at the international level and currently holds the Ivorian records in the 200-meter, 400-meter, 800-meter and 1500-meter freestyle events.
“Whether it’s an U.S. Olympian or a student-athlete from another country, we’re really excited about it,” UW head coach Tom Johnson said. “Recruiting Talita was a long time in the making. It took us almost all spring because of her competition schedule. We are thrilled to have her on our team and excited to see what she can do this week. She owns a couple records in her home country, and I know that will translate well here with the group we will have looking ahead.”
Former Wyoming Cowboy discus thrower Mason Finley is slated to begin competition at the Games of the XXXI Olympiad Friday, as well. Finley qualified for the 2016 Summer Olympics after winning the men’s discus throw at the United States Olympic Trials on July 8, throwing 208 feet, 1 inch to secure the victory by over 6 feet.
Qualifying rounds of the men’s discus throw are scheduled to take place at 6:30 a.m. and 7:50 a.m. Friday. Twelve finalists will advance to the medal round, which will take place at 7:50 a.m. Saturday.
“I’m very confident and ready to compete at my best,” Finley said while speaking with members of the media in a conference call on Aug. 1. “This is definitely the most confident I’ve been. My main goals are to go in there and to make finals, and to get over 65 meters, which I know I can do. I think it’s going to take around 66 meters to get to the podium, and I’m very capable of that.”
Finley lauded Wyoming throws coach Paul Barrett, who is entering his 23rd season with the Cowboys, during the conference call for his assistance with Finley’s physical development and mental growth. Barrett speaks very highly of Finley as well.
“He didn’t act like he was above anyone else,” Barrett said of Finley’s time as a Cowboy. “He and I got along real well. We’re both pretty mellow, the same type of personality. Obviously it’s an honor to have Mason go to the Olympic Games, having come through Wyoming. It’s pretty rare. It’s not something that happens every day. We’re extremely excited and proud of him.”
Finley will look to be the first U.S. discus thrower to reach the podium in Olympic competition since the 1984 Los Angeles Games. Current University of Colorado throws coach Casey Malone was the most recent U.S. men’s discus thrower to make the final round of Olympic competition, doing so at the Athens Games in 2004. Malone threw 64.33m (211-0.75) to finish sixth overall.
Finley ranks second in Wyoming history for the discus throw and received outdoor All-American status in the event as a Cowboy in 2014.
From University of Wyoming Athletics