Meet Anna Willard, American Olympian competing in the first ever women’s steeplechase in the Games. Read her biography and see photos and a video of her below.
The bold streak in Anna Willard blond bobbed hair is a reflection of her confidence and her progression in her sport. She has said that her hair gets bolder as she improves in her sport. She was on of 15 women who ran the first ever women’s steeplechase in the Olympic Games.
Willard finished 10th in the 3,000 – meter steeplechase final. She finished in 9:25.63 which was three seconds slower than her personal best. Gulnara Galkina-Samitova of Russia won the gold medal, Eunice Jepokorir of Kenya won the silver and Ekaterina Volkova of Russia won the bronze in Sunday’s steeplechase finals.
Anna Willard was born on March 31, 1984 in Greenwood, Maine. She is 24-years-old. Anna’s parents are Al and Nancy Willard. They own Willard Farms in Greenwood and New Gloucester, Maine. She grew up in Greenwood, Maine and went to Telstar Regional High School there. She worked on her father’s farm bailing hay. She was an outstanding athlete in high school, competing in track and field. She didn’t begin steeplechase until her junior year at Brown University when the star steeplechaser got injured and she stepped in to fill the spot. She has run the steeplechase every since then. With just two weeks training, she set a school record in her first race.
Anna graduated from Brown in 2006 and enrolled in graduate school at the University of Michigan. She continued to excel at Michigan. She was named Michigan’s first female athlete of the year and was named the first female athlete of the year by the Big 10. She finished 2nd in the U.S. National Championships even with an injured ankle. She finished 8th in her first World Championships.
In 2007, Anna broke records with a 9:27.59 finish in the NCAA Championships in Sacramento. That is the fastest time ever run on American soil. Her personal best is 8:58.07.
While at the 2008 U.S. Olympic trials, Anna became engaged to fellow American steeplechaser Jonathan Pierce.