Michelle Rohl, a 58-year-old grandmother, from Pennsylvania, impressed at the US Olympic Team trials by securing third place in a race walking event held in Springfield, Oregon over the weekend. She completed the 20,000-meter race walk with a strong time of 1:42:17.


Rohl’s remarkable achievement comes more than two decades after she initially stepped away from the demanding sport to homeschool her five children, who are now grown, as reported by the Philadelphia Inquirer. Her return to competitive race walking also follows the recent birth of her first grandchild.


“She’s an excited grandma,” remarked her husband Michael Rohl to the newspaper before the event. “We receive pictures every day of our little grandson.”

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Despite participating in three previous Olympics (1992, 1996, 2000), Rohl had not previously placed as high as third. Her best finish was 14th place in the 10,000-meter walk at the 1996 Games.

A four-time US champion in the 20,000-meter race walk, Rohl maintained a rigorous daily training regimen leading up to the trials, despite facing challenges such as a concussion last year and persistent knee discomfort, according to the Inquirer. She also persevered through a recent fall that resulted in a chin injury just weeks before the trials.

Reflecting on her journey, Rohl transitioned to race walking from distance running during her college years due to Achilles tendon issues. Her determination and resilience have been key factors in her enduring success in the sport.