Former Hawk Nukuri-Johnson returns to Olympics - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Former Hawk Nukuri-Johnson returns to Olympics

Posted:

The country roads outside Iowa City have almost become a second home to former Hawkeye Diane-Nukuri Johnson.

"There are weeks where she runs 120 miles," Iowa track coach Layne Anderson said, "That's what it takes."

For nearly 7 years those roads and fields have become somewhat of a training partner, and they helped take her to the world's biggest stage.  Last Sunday she ran the 26.2 miles of the Olympic marathon in London finishing 31st overall.

"She has a capacity to work hard," said Anderson, "She has an ability to run a lot of miles.  She has the ability to be out there and put a lot of lonely miles in."

Those miles brought her a long way.  In London, Nukuri-Johnson was representing her African homeland of Burundi, which she fled 11 years ago to leave behind a long going civil war.  Her father was a victim of the conflict.  He was killed when Diane was 9.  She also saw leaving as a chance to find new opportunities.

"I really wanted to continue running and continue my education," Nakuri-Johnson said, "and I had the opportunity to get out of the country where all my sisters and the other people in country didn't have that opportunity."

This wasn't her first opportunity in the Olympics.  That experience came 12 years ago at the age of 15, one year before she left her country.

"When I went for the first time, I had no idea what I was really going to do," she said, "I just heard the Olympics and I didn't know anything about the Olympics."

While she didn't win a medal, she still set a national record for the nation of Burundi and easily met the goal she had set for herself prior to the race.

"I would like to make people proud, the people that have supported me, my family, my country, so I'm really going there to do the best I can."

  • SPORTSMore>>

  • ISU's Wigginton wins Big 12 Newcomer of the Week

    ISU's Wigginton wins Big 12 Newcomer of the Week

    Monday, January 15 2018 10:54 PM EST2018-01-16 03:54:51 GMT

    Wigginton wins Big 12 honor

    More >>

    Wigginton wins Big 12 honor

    More >>
  • UNI's Pickford MVC Newcomer of the Week

    UNI's Pickford MVC Newcomer of the Week

    Monday, January 15 2018 10:49 PM EST2018-01-16 03:49:54 GMT

    For the second time this season University of Northern Iowa freshman guard Tywhon Pickford has been tabbed as the Missouri Valley Conference's Men's Basketball Newcomer of the Week.

    More >>

    For the second time this season University of Northern Iowa freshman guard Tywhon Pickford has been tabbed as the Missouri Valley Conference's Men's Basketball Newcomer of the Week.

    More >>
  • UNI beats Valpo 81-76 to snap 7 game losing streak

    UNI beats Valpo 81-76 to snap 7 game losing streak

    Saturday, January 13 2018 10:57 PM EST2018-01-14 03:57:54 GMT
    The UNI en's basketball team holds off Valparaiso 81-76 to snap a seven game losing streak and win its first Missouri Valley game of the season. The Panthers got career scoring games out of freshmen Tywhon Pickford (23 points/9 rebounds) and Austin Phyfe (20 points/8 rebounds). Phyfe a freshman from Waverly-Shell Rock got the start tonight ahead of senior Bennett Koch. UNI led by as many as 15 points in the first half and stretched the advantage to 23 points in the second half. The ...More >>
    The UNI en's basketball team holds off Valparaiso 81-76 to snap a seven game losing streak and win its first Missouri Valley game of the season. The Panthers got career scoring games out of freshmen Tywhon Pickford (23 points/9 rebounds) and Austin Phyfe (20 points/8 rebounds). Phyfe a freshman from Waverly-Shell Rock got the start tonight ahead of senior Bennett Koch. UNI led by as many as 15 points in the first half and stretched the advantage to 23 points in the second half. The ...More >>
Powered by Frankly