By SAMANTHA GORMAN
Ed Trippas of Princeton University’s Men’s Track and Field Team has returned to the States after representing Australia in his first Olympic Games.
Racing in the first round of the 3,000 meter steeplechase on July 29, Trippas placed 11th, surrounded by the best athletes in the world.
“It’s such a unique experience being able to race against the world’s best and being in that environment,” Trippas said. “It’s a little intimidating but it’s cool to have gone through that and understand what it takes to be the best.”
According to Trippas, he was able to stay present while standing on the starting line, waiting for the gun to go off.
“I was kind of just trying to take it in because it was such a cool opportunity, one that might never happen again,” he said.
Despite not having any fans in the stadium due to COVID-19, Trippas said the atmosphere during his race is a memory that will stick with him forever.
“Running out into the stadium was literally breathtaking. Just how big [it] is around you and how small you feel. … I still remember that moment specifically,” he said. “For me, running is about being in an environment where I’m having fun with it.”
Along with the COVID protocols followed at the stadium, Trippas and his fellow Olympians experienced a different atmosphere than normal in the Olympic Village.
“There were a lot of safety protocols taken which was good because it helped create a feeling of security in the village,” he said.
Some of these protocols included getting tested daily and not being able to interact much with athletes from other countries, Trippas said.
“[Not being able to interact] is the price you pay for maintaining a safe environment. At the end of the day you just want to be able to compete in your event and you want everyone else to get the best opportunity they can have. So if it’s at the expense of being less social in the village, then that’s OK,” he said.
The excitement that has stirred up over the past few months has begun to wind down for Trippas as he makes his way back to Princeton for his senior year.
“[I’ve been] looking back on the last couple of months: how crazy it was traveling around Europe, qualifying for the Olympics, then training for that, and then going there,” he said. “But going back into normal life is honestly pretty refreshing; I have some downtime now. At the same time, I think I’ll never forget the past couple of months that I’ve had.”
As his experience grows, so do his goals. Trippas talked about the major competitions that are in his future.
“First is Eugene 2022 for the World Championships. That’s the next [major] one. There’s a lot that I want to do in the NCAA, too. I’d love to win an NCAA title for Princeton, and then go to World Champs next year hopefully. Then the next Olympics, 2024, in Paris,” Trippas said.
Trippas discussed how his first Olympic experience will help him move forward with these goals as a Princeton athlete and beyond.
“I think I’ve learned about what it takes to make the Olympics. That sort of stuff is going to stick with me this coming year and then years in the future,” he said.
“The biggest thing that I’ve learned is to just enjoy it and put yourself in an environment that you’re happy in and things are working well. As soon as you stop enjoying it you won’t have as much success,” Trippas added.