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Godsey '06 finishes fifth in hammer at U.S. Olympic Trials

BEAVERTON, Ore. -- Bates College graduate Keelin Godsey '06 came very close -- about a meter -- to realizing his Olympic dream on Thursday.

Needing to finish among the top three out of a field of 24 athletes, Godsey went 70.48 meters, exactly one meter past his previous career best, to finish fifth in the women's hammer throw on the first day of the U.S. Olympic Trials. The way today's results transpired, Godsey would have needed to hit the Olympic A standard -- 71.50 meters -- to have ensured a trip to London.

Godsey was one of nine athletes to qualify for the finals, based on his second attempt of the morning of 223-8, or 68.19 meters. His first of three attempts in the finals was a new personal best, 231-3 or 70.48 meters, his first time surpassing the 70-meter plateau. Godsey had qualified for the Olympic Trials based on his previous best of 227-11, or 69.48 meters, which ranked eighth in the country this year leading into today's action.

Amber Campbell took first place with a top mark of 71.80 meters, followed by Amanda Bingson at 71.78, Jessica Cosby at 232-2, Amy Haapanen at 70.63 and Godsey at 70.48. Godsey finished 1.19 meters ahead of sixth-place finisher Brittany Riley.

"That was my lifetime best," Godsey told The New York Times. "And I can't ask for anything more than my best."

"It's still amazing how he always steps up on that stage," commented Bates head women's track and field coach Jennifer "Jay" Hartshorn, Godsey's head coach for his senior year at Bates, where he was a 16-time All-American and two-time national NCAA champion and record-holder.

Godsey entered the national spotlight when he was recently featured in a special report in the May 28 issue of Sports Illustrated, "The Transgender Athlete."

The Olympic Trials may prove to be Godsey's career finale as a hammer thrower. As Sam Borden writes in his Times blog,

"Asked afterward what he saw for the future of his athletic career, Godsey hesitated. For nearly eight years, he said, he had looked at the end of this Olympic cycle as the end of his career; he had indicated, too, that he would then begin the medical part of his gender transition, making it impossible for him to continue competing as a female. But faced with that reality, Godsey hedged. 'I don’t know yet,' he said. 'I’m trying to make a lot of decisions right now.'”

Thursday saw stories about Godsey published in the The New York Times and on Yahoo!. Thursday's Portland Press Herald includes a column by Steve Solloway about Godsey, "Showing a strength that can't be measured."

"I've still done more than many people who are trans have," Godsey told the AP. "I've competed at the highest level. I couldn't be prouder."