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Editor’s note: This is 13th in a series counting down the Top 50 moments in Iowa Hawkeyes women’s athletics history in the 50 days leading up to the 50th anniversary of Title IX in June.
An Iowa fan closely watching some of the recent Olympic opening ceremonies might’ve seen a familiar face.
Iowa track and field alum Kineke Alexander was the flag bearer for Saint Vincent and the Grenadines in 2008, 2012 and 2016.
“Once you get out there, you see that big ol’ crowd, and everybody’s just cheering and you’re waving your country’s flag,” Alexander told The Gazette. “It’s an overwhelming feeling, but I loved it. I loved every moment.”
In London and Rio de Janeiro, she shared the moment with some of her Iowa teammates. Distance runner Diane Nukuri-Johnson represented Burundi in 2012 and 2016 and triple-jumper Troy Doris represented Guyana in 2016.
“All of us met up in the opening ceremony,” Alexander said.
The Vincentian sprinter didn’t need to record the opening ceremonies to relive the moment because of all her friends’ social media posts.
“There was like a million Facebook posts,” Alexander said. “So I got to see all those videos.”
Alexander didn’t make it to the finals in her three tries on the Olympic stage, although she still had plenty of memories experiencing the cultures of the various places she competed.
“Beijing — oh, they put on a show,” Alexander said. “They went all out for us. I went to the Great Wall. I ate all types of food.”
The former NCAA champion was one of two Olympians in 2008, three in 2012 and four in 2016 representing Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, an island nation in the Caribbean with a population slightly smaller than Cedar Rapids.
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