UPDATE June 25, 2021: Legend Boyesen Hayes finished 5th in the discus Friday night and will not go to Tokyo.
NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — A graduate of Christopher Newport University is chasing his dreams of becoming an Olympic athlete.
Thursday night was the first qualifying round for the men’s discus, which Legend Boyesen Hayes competed in at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon, as part of the U.S. Track and Field Trials.
According to CNU Track & Field and Cross Country, Boyesen Hayes earned a spot in Friday’s finals after earning the top position in qualifying on Thursday. The men’s discus finals is at 6:30 p.m. on NBCOlympics.com.
Boyesen didn’t always dream of the discus.
“I used to play football in the fall and I have all this time in the spring,” said Boyesen Hayes. “I started out with jumps and it was fun. Then my buddies introduced me to discus my junior year of high school.”
Once he found the sport, he never let it go.
“Definitely a path that he found himself on that really fulfilled that drive,” said his mother, Melissa Hayes.
During his senior year at Christopher Newport University, Boyesen Hayes placed second in the NCAA Outdoor Championship and set a new school record. “I think my senior year when I was the national runner up, it kind of left me thinking ‘I did pretty well this year and I don’t think I want to stop anytime soon.”
After graduation, he moved to Pennsylvania to train at a specific gym there. He says his journey to the trials hasn’t been easy, especially given that COVID-19 canceled all competition in 2020, but he’s ready to compete.
“We’re just testing to see how high that ceiling is,” said Boyesen Hayes. “Pushing the limits and staying positive for sure.”
His family members in Virginia Beach aren’t surprised that he’s on the national stage and they can’t wait to watch him compete.
“The place he’s in in his mind and his heart, he’s so confident but very calm,” said his father, Hank Hayes. “We’re ready to watch.”
“It’s going to be fun, it’s going to be a neat experience for sure,” said Melissa. “We’re so proud.”
Thursday night, Boyesen Hayes will fulfill his dream, while continuing to push the ceiling.
“Just because you’re a D3 athlete, doesn’t mean that you can’t still continue and improve your game,” said Boyesen. “If you believe in yourself and you grind and you don’t quit, then you can do some amazing things.”
The qualifying round was Thursday night at 10:05 p.m. EST.
The final is Friday night at 6:30p.m. EST. You can watch him compete on NBCOlympics.com.