Campbell Basks In Olympic Glow

FAYETTEVILLE -- Former University of Arkansas sprinter Veronica Campbell, who won two of Jamaica's five medals in the Olympics and shared in a third medal, met the media on Tuesday.

Campbell, a rather reserved 22-year-old from Trelawny, Jamaica, is back in school at the University of Arkansas despite a busy running schedule that will have taken her to Brussels, Belgium, and Monaco by summer's end.

She signed a pro contract with adidas following the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships, then won a bronze medal in the 100-meter dash in Athens, took gold in the 200 and helped Jamaica win gold in the 4x100.

Campbell took her individual gold medal in stride, but celebrated emotionally when Jamaica won the sprint relay.

"I expected to win the 200, so I didn't feel a reason to celebrate," she explained. "But we were not expected to win the relay. So I celebrated that and the 200 at the same time."

Standing on the medal stand filled her with pride, Campbell said.

"It was very emotional," she said. "I was happy for everyone in Jamaica."

She said she was especially happy for sprint relay teammate Alleen Bailey, who ran for South Carolina in college.

Campbell had won a silver medal in 2000 at Sydney, Australia, as part of Jamaica's 4x100 relay team. So she has now won four medals in all.

Campbell attended junior college at Barton County (Kan.), but rehabilitated a knee during her second season there and thus could have had two more years of outdoor eligibility for Arkansas.

But both she and former Barton and UA teammate LaShaunte'a Moore turned pro this summer. Moore, also an Olympic sprinter, would have had one season left at Arkansas.

Campbell will run in the Grand Prix finals at Monaco next Wednesday. She hopes to then return to Jamaica for the first time since the Olympics.

She said she hopes to run in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China.

Campbell began her 2004 indoor season by winning the 200 in the Razorback Invitational in a comparatively pedestrian (for her) 23.28, which was still a school record. She lowered that to 22.51 in the Tyson Foods Invitational in Fayetteville, won the SEC 200 in 22.67 and captured the NCAA 200 in 22.43, another school record.

She was third in the NCAA 60-meter dash in 7.27, after having run a 7.20 in the SEC Meet.

Outdoors, Campbell ran a school-record 11.10 in the SEC 100-meter dash prelims and 11.12 to win the finals, and ran a school-record 22.41 to win the SEC 200.

She also competed in the Penn Relays.

Campbell was thought to have received a medical waiver in the NCAA Regionals because of a leg strain, but ultimately was not allowed to run the 100 or 200 in the NCAA Meet after the Lady Razorbacks lost an appeal.

Moore ended up winning the NCAA 200 in an upset.

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