Four years ago, former Bishop Kelly High star and U.S. national champion 800-meter runner Nick Symmonds peaked for the Olympic Trials.
Symmonds, then 24, was seeking his first Olympic appearance, which he clinched by winning the event.
Anything after that would be icing on the cake, said Symmonds, who made it to the 800 semifinals at the 2008 Beijing Games.
Its a different story this summer.
Symmonds has won the past four U.S. titles in the 800 and reached the finals in the past two world championships. He is the No. 1 seed at the trials, which continue into next week at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore.
Making the Olympic team is no longer the end goal, but simply a step.
I feel a lot more confident, a lot more prepared. Four years ago, I thought this might be my only chance. At 28, to have already been an Olympian, this is my chance to really have a chance at a medal, said Symmonds, a 2002 BK graduate who set the Division III national record in the 800 at Willamette.
Thats the goal we set for ourselves.
There are 32 men competing for three spots on the U.S. team in the event, which begins Friday with quarterfinal heats at 6:20 p.m. MDT. Sixteen will advance to Saturdays semifinals (5:45 p.m.) and the top eight move onto Mondays final (8:47 p.m.).
The goal is to get through the preliminaries and semifinals expending as little energy as possible, said Symmonds, who is known for his late-charging style in races. Nothings guaranteed. You do everything you can to be prepared and hope that experience and a little luck goes your way.
Symmonds top rival is Khadevis Robinson, also a four-time U.S. champion. Symmonds or Robinson have won every national championship since 2005.
TWO OTHER LOCALS AT TRIALS
Æ Bishop Kelly graduate Corbin Duer, 23, will participate in the decathlon. Of the 19 men entered, Duer has the lowest qualification mark. He attended Cal Poly, where he broke the schools decathlon record in 2011.
Æ Former Boise State discus thrower Jarred Rome will attempt to make his second Olympic team. Rome, who finished 13th in the 2004 Games, has the best qualification mark in discus among competitors at the trials.
Brian Murphy: 377-6444,Twitter: @MurphsTurph