Opelika man becomes oldest Olympic sprinter

Courtesy: (Monzavous.com)
Courtesy: (Monzavous.com) (Copyright by WSLS - All rights reserved)

Brennan Reh, WRLB – (WRBL) - Friday night marks the opening ceremonies for the 2016 Rio Summer Games and an Opelika native will be there. Opelika High School graduate Monzavous Edwards will be representing Nigeria in the Rio Olympics.

35-year-old Edwards will be the oldest athlete to compete in the Olympic 100 meter dash.  He first qualified for the Olympic trials in 2000.  16 years later, he finally beat the odds and will be competing for Nigeria in the 100 meter dash next Saturday.

"When I first started my off-season training, I knew all the obstacles I was going up against with my age me being what they say you're out of your peak system or whatever so, like from day one all I kept saying was I'm going to Rio," Edwards said.

Edwards says his age has kept him motivated and he's using his maturity to his advantage.

"The age, all that does to me is that I've been through so many championships. I've been through so many rounds and I know how to eat right and how to prepare right so, it's actually giving me more of an advantage than it would as a disadvantage or a hindrance," he explained.

Alex Dowdell, who is currently a track and football coach at Opelika High School, ran track with Edwards in high school.

"He built the foundation here at Opelika and that foundation has carried him all the way to Rio so, I'm proud," he said.

Dowdell says Edwards' work ethic stood out to him in high school.

"He came early, stayed late and even on the weekends he was running trying to get better.  Trying to perfect his technique and it's paying off for him right now big time," Dowdell explained.

Going to the Olympics was always a goal for Edwards ever since he first started running track.

"I feel like a kid with the 12 days of Christmas when you know you're going to get a Christmas present and you're going to get the Christmas present that you asked for.  And my Christmas present is a gold medal," Edwards said.

Edwards is confident the Olympic Santa won't let him down in Rio.  The first two rounds of the 100 meter dash will be the morning of Saturday, August 13th.  The semi-finals and finals will be the night of Sunday, August 14th.