CMU alumnus, Olympian Rose has high expecations for 2016 Summer Olympics

Central Michigan University alumnus Alex Rose will be living his dream in August when he heads to Rio de Janeiro to compete in the 2016 Summer Olympics. But before going to South America, Rose has been putting in work almost daily.

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, a former Chippewa track and field discus thrower, will compete for his father’s home country of Samoa — a small island east of Australia.

Rose is training at Aurora University in Illinois, where he is a graduate assistant, coaching discus throwers on the track-and-field team. Along with throwing four days a week, Rose is also lifting weights three-to-four days per week.

The West Branch native had some wear and tear in his pectoral last month in Jamaica due to the amount of competitions he was in. He is now resting for one-to-two weeks and will not be throwing for that time period. Rose had to drop out of the competition because of how sore his pectoral was at the time. The next time he will throw is on June 23 in Madrid. 

Despite the challenges he has faced along the way, Rose is shooting for the top of the podium.

“A Samoan has never reached an Olympic Final in track and field. I feel like it would be amazing to reach and compete in the Olympic Final,” Rose said. “That means during qualification, I’d have to be in the top 12 out of probably 32. It’s not out of reach at all. I usually compete my best at these bigger meets and I’m really excited to have the opportunity to make history.”

Physical training isn’t the only exercise Rose is doing. When he isn’t lifting weights or throwing, he's studying the field. After looking at some stats, Rose believes he will go into the meet ranked “around 20th”. He’s basing it on who he thinks will improve by the time the games start, he said.

“I really think I could land a spot in the top 12,” Rose said. “I can’t tell you the amount of time I’ve spent looking at rankings and videos of past Olympics and World Championships. My fiancée can always attest to this. I’m always doing my homework. I would refer to discus as a ‘borderline obsession’ for me.”

Despite Rose’s support staff — his fiancée and parents — he will more than likely be heading to Brazil without them due to travel costs, as well as the Zika virus.

“It does seem like a risk (for family and friends to attend) just because there’s so much hype surrounding the controversy. I’m not taking any precautions for the virus," Rose said. "I’m assuming the International Olympic Committee would prepare the athletes if we needed a vaccine or certain medications so hopefully my trust in them is well-founded.”

Even though he admits there are controversies in the games, Rose proclaims he wouldn’t change anything about his opportunity to attend.

“I’m very lucky to be there and I’m very excited for the opportunity. If it was a war zone, I would honestly still probably be flying in," he said. "It’s something I’ve dreamt of my entire life. It doesn’t matter where it’s at. I’d basically go anywhere to become an Olympian.”

Rose’s first competition in Rio will be on August 12. He will compete during either Qualification A at 9:30 a.m. or Qualification B at 10:55 a.m.