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Turning a dream into a reality

The 2016 Summer Olympics featured just one individual with athletic ties to NMSU. During the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, which were delayed a year due to COVID-19, that number tripled.  

Three athletes - an NMSU graduate, a freshman and a member of the Aggie women’s track and field staff - all reached the pinnacle of their respective sports by representing both NMSU as well as three different nations in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.  

Taking part in her second-straight Summer Olympics, Alena Sharp ’03 represented Canada in the 60-woman field of women’s golf. Sharp concluded the four-day competition in Tokyo with a 49th-place finish, helping to extend her phenomenal career which was fast-tracked through her collegiate career as an Aggie from 1999-03. The Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, native generated an illustrious Aggie career as she won the 2000 Big West Championship as well as the 2002 and 2003 Sun Belt Championship. During her time in Las Cruces, she helped lead the Aggies to two NCAA Championship appearances in 2000 and 2001. Sharp also posted a 13th-place finish at the 2000 NCAA Women’s Golf Championship.  

Before she dove into the pool to begin her time as a student-athlete for the Aggie women’s swimming and diving team, Lina Khiyara already made a name for herself as an Olympian. Representing her home nation of Morocco at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Khiyara was one of 29 women from around the globe who made the cut for the women’s 200-meter freestyle event. Khiyara finished fourth in her quarterfinal heat with a time of 2:08.80, but did not move on to the semifinals of the event.  

Of the three female athletes with NMSU ties, Rachel Dincoff was the only one who competed for the United States. Dincoff, a women’s track and field All-American at Auburn University, made the cut for the U.S. Olympic Team in June 2021, when she put forth a clutch toss of 60.21 meters on her fifth of six throws to push herself into third place in the finals of the women’s discus event at the 2020 U.S. Olympic Team Trials.  

Once in Tokyo, Dincoff competed in the first of two heats in order to try and advance to the medal round. Though she put forth a throw of 56.22 meters in her qualifying heat, it was not enough to push her into the finals.  

Each of the Aggies’ 2020 Olympians will have a chance to represent their home countries once again in 2024 when the Olympics are hosted in Paris, France.