UCR’s Brenda Martinez is Part of the USA Team for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro

The 2016 Olympic Games run from August 3-21, with track & field events beginning Friday, August 12.

Brenda Martinez placed third in the 1,500m finals at the U.S. Olympic trials on July 10; her time was 4:06.16, just .03 hundredths of a second ahead of the fourth place finisher. The Press-Enterprise

UC Riverside’s very own three-time All-American Brenda Saucedo Martinez is on her way to the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

The 2016 Olympic Games run from August 3 through 21, with the opening ceremony programmed for August 5 and track & field events beginning Friday, August 12.

She is among 100 athletes, coaches and staff from the University of California participating in Rio.

Martinez placed third in the 1,500 meter finals at the U.S. Olympic trials on July 10; her time was 4:06.16, just .03 hundredths of a second ahead of the fourth place finisher. Martinez was knocked out of competition from the 800 meter race a week before after contact caused her to stumble.

Martinez, who graduated from UCR in 2010 with a degree in sociology and law and society, was a star in NCAA competition. Later she won the bronze medal in the 800 meters at the IAAF World Champions in Moscow in 2013. Like many UC Riverside students, she was the first in her family to attend college, according to a UCR roster profile.

Brenda Martinez as a child. She posted “When the dream started. To be successful, you must decide exactly what you want to accomplish, then resolve to pay the price to get it. #teamNB #alwaysinbeta.” courtesy of Brenda Martinez

A photo from Instagram shows Brenda Martinez running as a child. She said: “When the dream started. To be successful, you must decide exactly what you want to accomplish, then resolve to pay the price to get it.”
courtesy of Brenda Martinez

A few months ago Martinez posted via Instagram a photo of her as a kid, running on a track and said: “When the dream started. To be successful, you must decide exactly what you want to accomplish, then resolve to pay the price to get it.”

In an interview with The Press-Enterprise, Martinez admitted that she wasn’t sure if she had qualified for Team USA in the 1500 meter run. Then the official announcement came. She had landed the third spot on the team.

“You don’t give up on yourself,” Martinez told The Press-Enterprise. “Ever.”

In another Instagram photo, she is seen next to a sign at Big Bear High School, holding bags filled with new running shoes. In this December post she recalls her own father struggling to buy her shoes. She went to school and to track practice with the same pair, she said. So that day she made a donation to the school’s cross-country teams. “Today #GivingTuesday I want to take a little stress off the parents of the Boys & Girls XC teams at Big Bear High School by donating @newbalance running shoes,” she wrote in the post.

New Balance is her official sponsor and the company has supported her Bmart Camp, a summer program for girls held at Big Bear Lake. The all-expenses paid camp focuses on running skills, but also on building self-confidence, self-esteem and making the girls believe in themselves.

The girls also serve as a motivation for her, she said in a video: “If in the middle of a workout I’m having a tough time, my husband will yell and say ‘how many little girls do you want to motivate, how many people do you want to help?’ And I just dig deep and find a way to finish.”

 

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