Shelby Erdahl, a hurdler for Idaho State University’s track and field team, had 300 meters to go in the Big Sky Conference Track and Field Championships on Saturday when she hit a hurdle and ruptured her left Achilles tendon.
Instead of stopping, Erdahl powered through the pain and finished the 400-meter race. She sobbed as she crossed the finish line while fans in the University of Northern Colorado stadium in Greeley stood and cheered her on.
The video of her inspirational feat went viral on the web and was featured on ESPN, Fox Sports, CBS Sports and USA Today.
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“I’ve just never really been the type to give up,” Erdahl said in a press release from Idaho State. “I knew I could do it. Just for myself. That was something I had worked a long time to get to. I wasn’t about to let a fall ruin that for me, so I just went for it.”
Other teams were cheering for Idaho State. “Other people were saying, ‘Oh my gosh I am going to cry.’People were moved by that, but my initial thought was she didn’t have to finish. I wasn’t even thinking about the points.
Idaho State track and field coach Hillary Merkley
Erdahl didn’t get any outside assistance and managed to stay within the rules so her finish could qualify. The winner crossed the line in 59.92 seconds, and Erdahl finished in 2 minutes, 53.56 seconds, but earned one point for her team.
Erdahl underwent surgery Wednesday. She graduated a week before the championship with a 4.0 GPA and plans to go to graduate school, according to Idaho State.