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The Ivy Influence: Jeomi Maduka and Adam Powell

Columbia's Adam Powell & Cornell's Jeomi Maduka
Columbia's Adam Powell & Cornell's Jeomi Maduka

Photos courtesy of Columbia Sports Information/Media Relations and Cornell Athletic Communications

DID YOU KNOW? Jeomi Maduka (Cornell) and Adam Powell (Columbia) are each training to earn a berth on Team USA for the 2012 Summer Olympics in track and field and swimming, respectively.

Jeomi Maduka is not used to losing. But in 2008, coming off Ivy League Indoor and Outdoor Heptagonal Track and Field Championships where the Cornell two-sport star won a combined six events and the Most Outstanding Performer awards, as well as Ivy League Player of the Year and All-American honorable mention accolades in women’s basketball, Maduka missed out on a trip to the Beijing Olympics after finishing one spot too low in the long-jump finals at the Olympic trials.

Maduka decided to narrow her focus. After being a two-sport star for three years, she gave up basketball, a sport in which she was a three-time All-Ivy performer and earned Ivy League Rookie of the Year honors as a freshman, to concentrate on Track and Field. Now, the Arlington, Texas native is training at the Olympic Center in Chula Vista, Calif., with former Gold medalist Al Joyner to make good on what she missed out on four years ago.

Through her Cornell career, Maduka won 10 Indoor Heptagonals and six Outdoor Heptagonals titles. She earned back-to-back Most Outstanding Performer at the Outdoor Championships and three consecutive Most Outstanding Performer awards at the Indoor Championships. She holds the all-time marks in Indoor League history in the 60m dash (7.47), the long jump (21-2) and the triple jump (43-10 ½) as well as the all-time mark in Outdoor League history in the long jump (21-3 ¼).

Maduka’s 10 indoor titles puts her in a tie for the most in League history, with or without relays included. She is just the second three-time Most Outstanding Performer at the Indoor Heptagonals and her three individual titles at the 2008 Outdoor Heptagonals tied the Ivy record.

Not only is Maduka training for a spot on Team USA for the 2012 Olympics, she is also studying at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School, where she is the vice president of the Student National Medical Association (SNMA). Maduka is successful whatever she does, with one exception, and she hopes to rectify that with a trip to London in the summer of 2012.

Former Columbia swimmer Adam Powell is also no stranger to just missing out on achieving a goal, having missed the cutoff to the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games by two-tenths of a second.

Powell went back to his team with a stronger determination, and that determination led to impressive junior and senior campaigns. He was a two-time League champion in both the 50 and 100-yard freestyle, a two-time Division I Mid-Major All-American first team selection and he a two-time qualifier for the NCAA Swimming & Diving Championships.

After the 2011 championships in which he defended is 50 and 100-free titles and also was part of Columbia’s winning 400-yard freestyle relay team, he was given the Harold Ulen Award as the Career High Point Swimmer thanks to his performance.

On top of his multiple individual titles, Powell was part of five second-place relay teams in 2010 and 2011. He is the school record holder in the 50-free (19.72 seconds) and 100-free (43.91 seconds) and is part of the school-record holding 200 medley team (1:29.81 minutes).

Powell knows that when he puts his mind to something, he will be successful. After graduating from Columbia with a degree in political science in 2011, Powell has placed his focus solely on making the U.S. Olympic team, and he hopes as well to have a trip to London in his near future.