This week’s guest is newly-minted Olympian Bryce Hoppel, who joined the podcast a few days before leaving for Tokyo. Bryce qualified for the 2021 Olympics when he finished third in the 800m, making his second U.S. national team since turning pro in 2019. At the World Championships in Doha, he finished 4th in the 800m, and he’s not shy about his desire to land on the podium this time around.
Bryce is a Texas native and graduate of the University of Kansas and we had a great conversation about his path to running, his go-to taco order, why he should star in Space Jam 3, and everything in between. The first round of the 800 is the evening of Friday, July 30 if you live in the U.S., so don’t miss the chance to cheer him on!
On the men’s 800m squad:
“We come around when it counts. People are already counting us out but we’re definitely going to put two, if not three of us into the final, and one of us is gonna get a medal for sure. I know I’m going for it.”
On pre-Olympics jitters:
“I think it’s definitely more nerve-wracking leading up to it. Once it actually gets here, it’s like, there’s nothing you can do about it: go out there and compete. I just want to get to Tokyo… that’s the most stressful thing. They’re so strict about everything, you worry ‘am I even gonna make it there?’ And once you’re there, everything will click.”
On heading to Tokyo without American Record holder Donavan Brazier on the 800m team:
“It hit me right after all the feelings of making the Olympic team – I was like, dang, Donavan’s not on the team. That was crazy. It’s definitely going to be a different team without him, but he’s going to bounce back; he’s one of the best to ever do it.”
On choosing the University of Kansas:
“Kansas was one of the official visits that I went on and really liked it. I fell in love with track and cross country by finding a great group of friends there at Midland [in high school], and when I met the tight-knit community here, I was like, ‘let’s do it.’ Two days later I was scheduled for another official visit, but something just woke me up at 3am and I was just like, ‘I really loved Kansas. I want to go there’ [….] and luckily everything worked out and went well, and I definitely wouldn’t do anything different.”