In Focus: Olympic Glory
Ade Alleyne-Forte Chased His Dream All the Way to the 2012 London Games
The life of a collegiate student-athlete can be filled with many ups and downs. This would be an understatement when describing Ade Alleyne-Forte's four years at LSU.
Before joining the world-famous LSU Track & Field program, the sprinter from the Caribbean nation of Trinidad and Tobago seemed destined for success on the track.
Alleyne-Forte represented his country in such international competitions as the IAAF World Championships in Osaka, Japan, and the Pan American Junior Championships in Sao Paulo, Brazil, in 2007. He joined the Tigers with a personal best of 46.27 seconds as one of the world's top young 400-meter sprinters.
Alleyne-Forte quickly became a staple for the Tigers in the 4x400-meter relay while earning five All-America honors in the event during his collegiate career.
That includes a national runner-up finish outdoors in the relay in 2011 before sweeping NCAA bronze medals in the event during the indoor and outdoor seasons as a senior in 2012.
It marked the end of a tumultuous four years for Alleyne-Forte as he was rarely able to race at his full potential while battling a string of injuries during his time at LSU.
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Before he even enrolled at LSU in the fall of 2008, Alleyne-Forte suffered a torn hamstring that would be the first in a rash of injuries to plague the prodigious talent upon his arrival in Baton Rouge.
Alleyne-Forte had to face perhaps his greatest hurdle at the start of his junior season when he suffered an injury that nearly cost him the entire campaign. While training in the weight room before the 2011 indoor season, he sustained extensive muscle trauma when he lost grip of a weight bar than landed on his quadriceps.
It was at this point in his career that Alleyne-Forte considered giving up on the sport of track and field.
"I told my mom and my aunt that I wanted to stop running track," Alleyne-Forte said. "I told them I'm quitting, I'm going to find me a 9-to-5 (job) and just live like a normal person. But they told me to just keep doing it."
Alleyne-Forte followed his family's advice and enjoyed a resurgence in his career as a senior, as he not only proved his worth as one of the elite 400-meter runners in the NCAA, but also aspired to represent his country at the Olympic Games.
Alleyne-Forte wrapped up his collegiate career on June 9 when he raced to a career-best 44.8-seconds split as the third leg of LSU's 4x400-meter relay squad in the NCAA final. He teamed with Quincy Downing, Robert Simmons and Riker Hylton to run the third-fastest time in school history at 3:00.21 for third place at the NCAA Championships in his final race as an LSU Tiger.
He then took home a sixth-place finish while running a personal best of 46.13 in the 400-meter final at the Sagicor National Open Championships in Trinidad and Tobago.
With his personal-best performance, Alleyne-Forte earned the sixth and final spot in Trinidad's 4x400-meter relay pool for the 2012 Olympic Games.
In just two months, Alleyne-Forte would line up in the biggest race of his life as Trinidad and Tobago qualified for the Olympic final in the 4x400 relay in London.
With the world watching, he did not disappoint.
While running the third leg for Trinidad, Alleyne-Forte took the baton from teammate Jarrin Solomon at the second exchange and kept his country in third place with a 45.44-seconds split before handing off to Deon Lendore on the anchor leg. The team captured the Olympic bronze medal after running a national record of 2:59.40.
Bahamas struck gold in 2:56.72 with the United States taking silver in 2:57.05.
"It was an honor being there," Alleyne-Forte said. "The atmosphere was nice. The people were very warm and hospitable. Winning a medal just capped off the entire experience."
While standing on the podium after receiving his bronze medal, Alleyne-Forte reflected on his past and the struggle it took to get back to racing again.
"I thought to myself, 'I'm actually here,'" Alleyne-Forte said. "It came as a bit of shock and surprise. Standing on the podium watching the flag go up was unreal."
Alleyne-Forte's performance in London helped deliver Trinidad and Tobago its first medal in the 4x400-meter relay in the history of the Olympic Games.
Today, Alleyne-Forte no longer sprints for the Tigers. He still attends LSU, and plans to earn a degree in sociology in December. While concentrating in criminology, Alleyne-Forte hopes to one day become a criminal profiler.
Despite his many peaks and valleys, Alleyne-Forte is grateful for the time he spent at LSU as a student-athlete.
"I had a lot of life experiences," Alleyne-Forte said. "LSU helped push me further both in my track career and in my life."
And after competing for the Tigers and representing his country on the world stage, Alleyne-Forte has one piece of advice to those struggling to chase their dreams.
"It is never wise to give up," Alleyne-Forte said. "Never."