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Despite loss in prelims, Nelson grateful for Olympic experience
MEEKER — It wasn’t the finish he was hoping for, but Billy Nelson was glad he had the experience.
Nelson, whose father, Bill, works for Summit Industries in Meeker, placed 10th in his preliminary race of the 3,000-meter steeplechase Friday at the Olympics in Beijing, China, and failed to qualify for the finals.
“I still had mixed emotions on the race and my time here, feeling that I left myself, my family, and my supporters down,” Nelson, a former Colorado University runner, wrote on his blog, “but then also feeling great because I am at the Olympics and at my first world championship in track and field.”
Nelson’s time Friday was 8 minutes, 36.66 seconds. He ran a personal best of 8:21.47 at the U.S. Olympic Trials.
“I am 23 and at the Olympics,” Nelson said. “I achieved my dream at an earlier age than I expected.”
The top four from each heat advanced to the finals, along with the next three fastest times.
“I was very disappointed in my time, my place, and my overall performance,” Nelson said. “I feel that my preparation and hard work really didn’t pay off with the outcome of the race.”
His father, Bill, who lives in Gypsum, and his wife and other family members traveled to China to watch Billy run.
“All in all, I have mixed emotions on my first experience at the Olympics — very disappointed with my performance,” said Nelson, who has signed a professional contract to run for Nike, “but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”
Now, he has his sights set on qualifying for the 2012 Games in London, England.
“I still feel that I am in sub-8:20 shape and should be able to contend for a top-eight finish at the Olympic Games, but that will have to come in 2012,” Nelson said.