Utah Marathon Runner Jared Ward Focused On Making His Second Olympics
Jul 23, 2019, 8:03 PM | Updated: Feb 12, 2023, 6:01 pm
PROVO, Utah – Although Salt Lake is former Winter Olympics city, there are athletes in the Beehive State who compete in the summer games. KSL caught up with one athlete on the one-year mark before the 2020 games in Tokyo.
Marathon runner Jared Ward lives in Utah County, went to school in Davis County, and was one of Team USA’s surprises during the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.
Even though it’s been three years, the former BYU All-American can still feel what it was like.
“Yeah, it’s contagious. I remember standing in front of the mirror as an 18-year old kid in high school in a borrowed Team USA jersey and I thought, ‘Someday, I want one of these,’” said Ward.
Now, he has one.
Which means, of course, he wants two.
I caught up with Olympic marathon runner and Utah County resident @jwardy21 during a training run. He came in 6th during the 2016 Rio Olympics. Now he’s working hard to make the 2020 Tokyo Games. He says he’s feeling great. His story tonight on @KSL5TV at 6:30. #ksltv 🇺🇸 pic.twitter.com/5giSmjdOMm
— Alex Cabrero (@KSL_AlexCabrero) July 23, 2019
“I had a good race there and I’ve had some good races since, and I really left feeling like I belong there,” said Ward.
Ward came in 6th during in Rio de Janeiro, proving to others he belonged in the Olympics, and proving to himself he can compete with the best in the world.
“I now know what that experience is like and what it means, and so I want to be there again,” said Ward.
That’s why he trains and runs constantly.
During a training run in Provo recently, which he ran seemingly effortlessly without breaking a sweat, Ward said he felt as good as ever.
He’s hoping to make Team USA again for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, but he knows no one makes a future Olympic team based on past performances.
That’s why he continues to train hard.
“I’m approaching it very much with an attitude that I can do it and I’m excited to get back out there and set some goals and put on that Team USA jersey again,” he said.
Jared Ward marching in the 2016 Olympic Opening Ceremonies pic.twitter.com/szIiITkvNe
— BYU Track and Field (@BYUTFXC) August 6, 2016
This time around, though, he admits it feels a little different.
That’s mainly because a lot of people expect him to make the 2020 Olympic team, and with sponsors like Saucony, Timex, and MyoStorm, he knows people will be watching him more during the Olympic Trials.
“I think there’s a little bit more pressure,” said Ward. “But typically, I think when you have more pressure, it comes with more experience and more confidence, too, and I hope some of that confidence offsets some of the pressure.”
In 2016, Ward’s mother and father watched him run in Rio.
His wife,, Erica couldn’t go because she was pregnant with their third child.
They now have four kids, and if Ward makes the Olympic Team, he is planning on having his wife and at least some of their kids make the trip to Tokyo to watch him run.
“We’re hopeful if things work out next summer and the Olympic experience will be in the cards, my family can be there,” said Ward. “They’re support is great.”
For now, that whole Olympic experience is in the future – and in the past.
Right now, all he’s focusing on is keeping consistent, and continuing to gain confidence that he truly is one of the best marathon runners in the world.
“I just feel blessed,” said Ward. “Timing has been really good to me and it seems like things are coming into form at the right time.”