Temi Ogunrinde’s prolific career with the Gophers' track and field team took a complete left turn after her first year. Despite having success as a sprinter in high school and freshman year of college, her coaches thought that she would have the most success at the hammer throw.
“The first time she touched the hammer, she was fearless,” said Gophers throwing coach Peter Miller. “She basically just spun around as best she could and let it go. That's probably half of what it takes to be a really good hammer thrower.”
Her endless hours of training over the last five years paid off. In her last season with the Gophers as a redshirt senior, Ogunrinde was named an All-American.
“I’ve worked five years for this goal — blood, sweat and tears,” Ogunrinde said. “I gave everything I could to achieve this goal.”
Being an All-American was just one of the accolades she earned. She also won her third-straight Big Ten title in the hammer throw and broke both the Minnesota and Nigerian national records with a throw of 68.85 meters at the NCAA Championship.
Those accomplishments would not have come to be if it were not for Miller's coaching, Ogunrinde said.
“I think a lot of my success is a true testament to his coaching, to be honest,” Ogunrinde said. “He knew that I was all in and I knew that he had my best interest at heart, so it just created a mentorship of trust.”
Despite a career full of accomplishments at Minnesota, Ogunrinde has bigger goals and dreams in mind. She wants to be remembered for more than being a college All-American thrower.
“It’s so cool to be an All-American,” Ogunrinde said. “I hope that five to ten years from now I’m not holding on to just in college I was an All-American. I’m really hoping there are bigger things down the road.”
Ogunrinde will get her chance to do bigger things. She is planning to compete in the 12th African Games in Morocco, which take place in August. After that, she plans to head to Doha, Qatar for the 2019 IAAF World Athletics Championships in late September. Both of Ogunrinde’s parents are from Nigeria, giving her eligibility to try and earn a spot on the Nigerian national team.
The big goal for Ogunrinde is to make it to the 2020 Summer Olympics in Japan. Her parents are already planning a trip to Tokyo to see her compete. She’ll continue to work with Miller as she prepares to compete on the international stage.
“To go there and experience that and be on a world stage of just the top athletes, now that would be such an honor to also be one of those,” Ogunrinde said. “Medal or no medal, I could place last and I’d be so happy. That would be a once in a lifetime experience.”
No matter where life takes her, Ogunrinde is destined for success, whether it be on the track or off of it, Miller said.
"I think she would probably be done after the Tokyo Olympics next year and [will] move on to try to change the world however she wants,” Miller said. “She's got a degree in non-profit and entrepreneurial management and she’ll have her master's at that point, too.”