CMU alumnus to compete in 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro

Paulina Lee/Staff Photographer Junior Alex Rose competes in the discus May 15, 2012 at the Lyle Bennett Outdoor Track and Field Complex. Rose won the event with a throw of 180-10.

Central Michigan University alumnus Alex Rose has qualified for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro after his discus throw of 65.74 meters — a Samoan national record.

Rose was the 23rd ranked discus thrower in the world according to the International Association of Athletics Federations’ World List as of April 24. To qualify for the summer games, Rose needed to remain ranked within the top 32.

The 2014 alumnus is a dual citizen of both the United States and Samoa. While he was born and raised in the United States, Rose will compete for his father’s home country of Samoa — a small island to the East of Australia.

“I’ve always been someone who roots for the underdog,” Rose said in an interview in April. “I love competing for a smaller country, a developing nation. It’s just a different feeling.”

Rose hopes to accomplish something no Samoan athlete has before.

“I’d love to get to the point where I’m at the Olympics and in the finals, and maybe it’s just for 30 seconds on TV they say ‘And for the first time ever, a Samoan athlete qualified for the Olympic final,’” he said. “I don’t know if a whole lot of people will understand how big of a deal that is, but to me, it’s everything."

After not being recruited in high school, Rose qualified for the NCAA Outdoor Championship in the discus during the 2010 outdoor season, finishing third among freshmen and 13th overall with his throw of 177’ 2”. Rose also took second place (188’ 8”) in discus at the USA Junior Outdoor Track and Field Championship in 2010, which qualified him to compete at the Indoor Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Junior Championships in New Brunswick, Canada.

It was at this point Rose’s father convinced him to compete at the international level for Samoa.

“The whole time throughout the whole process, my dad was like ‘You know, you could compete for Samoa,’” Rose said. “I was like, ‘Dad how can I do that? I’ve never been to Samoa. It’s a huge flight and a very expensive plane ticket.’”

Rose earned All-American Honors and finished in fifth place in the NCAA Championships in 2011 and was the MAC Champion in discus in 2012.

He redshirted in 2013, allowing him to compete in events unattached and pursue international competition.

“(Competing unattached) was kind of my first case of training by myself,” Rose said. “When I was at those meets, I realized that I was pretty good at being self aware and being able to coach myself. That’s when I knew that I could train by myself if I had to, kind of like the current situation I am in now.”

In 2013, Rose — still a student at CMU — competed in the World Championships and the World University Games. While the competition lacks name recognition, it is the second largest sporting event in the world.

It was at this point Rose said he realized he had the potential to compete make it to the Olympics.

“Competing in front of all the thousands and thousands of people there, I got all of this adrenaline, I had my season’s best throw and I knew, I just want to be the best I can be,” Rose said. “I want to be one of the guys that people look up to and model technically and try to throw like. That’s kind of when I knew I had to train for the Olympics."


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