May 30 Athlete Spotlight: Hunter Kemper

By Chrös McDougall | May 30, 2012, 12:30 a.m. (ET)

With a fifth-place finish at the ITU World Triathlon San Diego in May, Hunter Kemper earned a nomination to his fourth Olympic Games in London. As triathlon was only added to the Olympic Games in 2000 at Sydney, at the time of his nomination, Kemper joined Canada’s Simon Whitfield and Germany’s Anja Dittmer as the only triathletes to qualify for all four Olympic triathlons.

Kemper’s road to London was not without obstacles. The 2005 USOC Sportsman of the Year suffered a broken elbow in October 2011 and was bed-ridden for six weeks with a staph infection in early 2012.

Since breaking into the elite triathlon scene in 1999 with a win at the Pan American Games, Kemper has often been the leading U.S. male triathlete. The Longwood, Fla., native and Colorado Springs resident is a seven-time U.S. champion and had the highest finish among the American delegation at his three previous Olympic Games. His best finish was seventh in 2008 at Beijing.

Bet you didn’t know this: When Kemper was writing letters while trying to get noticed by college track and cross country coaches, the staff at Wake Forest saw his name and times and figured Kemper was a woman. Despite initially receiving interest for the Demon Deacons women’s teams, Kemper ended up attending Wake Forest and in 2008 entered the school’s athletics hall of fame.

Claim to fame: In 2007, Kemper became the first triathlete to be featured on the iconic Wheaties boxes.

Age at Opening Ceremony: 36
Sport: Triathlon

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