Former Western Carolina track star Manteo Mitchell ’09 MAEd ’12 was honored with the WCU Alumni Association’s Young Alumnus Award during festivities associated with Homecoming in October.
Mitchell captured the attention and admiration of the nation for his performance at the 2012 London Olympic Games. As he ran for Team USA in the preliminaries of the 4X400 meter relay, his left fibula bone snapped, but he kept running on his broken leg, allowing the team to earn a spot in the event finals. The team ultimately won second place in the event. All the relay runners, including Mitchell, received silver medals, which The Magazine of Western Carolina University chronicled in the story “Silver Lining” in the fall 2012 issue.
When all the nation’s Olympians visited the White House in September 2012, President Barack Obama singled out Mitchell in his remarks, saying his performance was “one of my favorite stories of the whole Olympics.” Mitchell was off the track for 16 weeks as a result of his broken leg, and received his master’s degree in physical education in December 2012. After running some smaller meets last spring, Mitchell competed again with “USA” on his chest at the Penn Relays in April. Now, with his eyes set on the 2016 summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, he trains in Cullowhee with WCU track and field coach Danny Williamson ’85 MAEd ’87 and is sponsored by Nike.
“Manteo Mitchell became an inspiration for people around the world as a result of his incredible performance at the 2012 Olympics, and he continues to serve as a great ambassador for WCU as he travels and competes,” said Marty Ramsey ’85, director of alumni affairs.