Friday, April 18, 2014

Villanova Penn Relays countdown: Six days left (part two)

Sonia O'Sullivan

Editor's note: For the ten days leading up to the Penn Relays, I will do a countdown of great Villanova athletes with the number of Penn Relays titles corresponding with the day. Given that there were two Olympic medalists who had won six times at Penn, I picked the man and the woman. 

With no disrespect to other great Villanova runners like Sheila Reid, Vicki Huber, Carrie Tollefson, Jen Rhines, Carmen Douma-Hussar, and Caroline Zajac, the greatest female runner in Villanova history is easily Sonia O'Sullivan. Not only is O'Sullivan the fastest Villanova runner at every current and former Olympic distance from the 1500 to the marathon (with the exception of the steeplechase, which wasn't competed as a women's event during her career), but she is also the only female Villanova runner to set an individual world record, the only one to be a World Champion on the track, the only one to be a World Cross Country champion, and the only one to win an Olympic medal, when she took home silver for Ireland in the 5000 meters in the 2000 Sydney Games behind probable doper Gabriela Szabo of Romania.

The County Cork native is one of her country's most beloved athletes, and she is unquestionably the greatest female professional athlete in Villanova's history.

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