Although the vast majority of celebrations in the #retriever50for50 countdown took place during the student-athletes' time at UMBC, there have been several Retrievers that have been recognized for their exploits after their collegiate tenures have expired.
Our featured athlete at No. 15 in the countdown is worthy of both. Stay tuned.
Earlier this month, Cleopatra Borel (UMBC, '02) had the honor of serving as the official flag bearer for Trinidad and Tobago at the closing ceremonies of the Rio Olympics. Cleo had just competed in her fourth Olympic Games and, 14 years after graduating from UMBC (you can do the math on her approximate age), she produced her best result. The shot putter extraordinaire made the finals (Top 8) and finished seventh in the games.
But the date we will honor will be August 18, 2004. The Olympic Games had returned to the ancient city of Athens and Borel became the first female that competed at UMBC to take part. Moreover, she reached the finals, placing ninth in her first games.
Borel would go to Beijing in 2008 and to London in 2012, but was unable to match her 2004 effort until the games went to South America for the first time.
She has been named Sportswoman of the year in T&T and competed in multiple world championships in her decade and a half of competition.
Along the way, she has become an ambassador for her nation beams with pride when discussing her countrywomen and men that compete for the island(s) nation.
Borel has been selected for the UMBC Athletics Hall of Fame, but her competition schedule has prevented her from being formally inducted.
Given her most recent exploits, would Tokyo 2020 be out of the question?