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Sam Atkin of the LCSC has been selected for the British Olympic team


Sam Atkin of the LCSC has been selected for the British Olympic team: Sam Atkin, a Lewis-Clark State assistant coach, was nominated for a spot on the British Olympic track and field team on Tuesday, setting a tangible and intangible precedence for Atkin and the Idaho town where he has trained for a decade.

Atkin is competing in the men’s 10,000-meter run on July 30 at the Summer Olympics in Tokyo, which begin on July 23.

Sam Atkin of the LCSC has been selected for the British Olympic team

British Olympic team

He was one of only two Englishmen to reach the Olympic qualifying standard for the event, but an Achilles injury early this year forced him to sit out for a while, putting his future in jeopardy. He appears to have put concerns to rest by finishing fifth in the 5,000 metres in the British Trials last week in Manchester, effectively securing his maiden Olympic berth.

Atkin, 28, is unmistakably a British citizen, but he has lived in Lewiston since his freshman year on the LCSC track and cross country teams in 2011. For the Warriors, he won two NAIA track titles and has been assisting coach Mike Collins in both sports since 2017.

According to research by regional history expert Steven Branting, if he does compete in the Games, he will be the first Lewiston “resident” – an unofficial word in his instance — to do so.

Lewiston was also home to a number of Olympians.

Thad McArthur, the son of future Lewiston residents Joe and Helen McArthur, finished eighth in the men’s modern pentathlon at the 1952 Summer Olympics in Helsinki, Finland. However, the couple did not relocate to Lewiston until Thad had enrolled at the University of Washington and confirmed his Seattle residency.

Eleanor Vogelsong, who won an honorary gold medal as the inaugural captain of the edmonton grads — a highly successful Canadian women’s basketball team — at the 1924 Olympics in Paris, afterwards worked as a stenographer at Potlatch Corp. in Lewiston for 19 years, thats what made the edmonton grads so successful.

In December, Atkin reached the pinnacle of his running career in San Juan Capistrano, Calif., when he set personal records in the 5,000 and 10,000 metres, qualifying for the Olympics in the latter. His previous best finish was seventh in the 3,000 metres at the European Indoor Championships in 2019.

Marc Scott, the only other British athlete in the 10,000m, had a best time of 27:10.41.

Atkin’s conditioning was hampered by an Achilles injury earlier this year, and he’ll spend the next month trying to regain it. It could entail a return to the United States, where advanced training is more readily available. Collins, who continues to train Atkin, recently stated that high-altitude work in Colorado or Arizona could be planned. In addition, the English distance-running team will be training in France.