True to the form he initially established about a decade ago at Brunswick High School, Luke Campbell has continued his climb through the levels as an elite hurdler — and the latest obstacle he cleared will put him on the premier stage in his sport.
Campbell announced last Tuesday that he has made the German Olympic team and will compete in the 400-meter hurdles at the Tokyo Games later this month.
The 2012 Brunswick grad has dual citizenship because his mother, Anne, was born in Germany, where Campbell has been living and training since shortly after his record-breaking track career at Division III Salisbury University.
“The feeling is almost indescribable after such a long journey,” Campbell said in a press release from Salisbury. “It’s been a long year of waiting, especially when it wasn’t for sure that the Games would even take place in 2021, but it’s worked out in my favor, and I’m excited to see a fitting end to this chapter.”
Given an extra year to qualify in his specialty due to the pandemic-forced postponement of the 2020 Summer Games, Campbell has climbed to a No. 8 ranking among European runners in his event this season, according to worldathletics.com. He is ranked No. 19 in the world on the same website.
Campbell produced his top time of the season the last time he competed on June 20 in Germany, rounding the track in 49.79 seconds.
Campbell has risen to the top echelon of his sport over the past few years, with his previous pinnacle — before making the Olympic team — being his appearance at the 2019 IAAF World Championships in Doha, Qatar, where he advanced to the semifinals before bowing out. His time of 50.0 in the semis was the 21st best time of the round out of 24 runners. He qualified for worlds that year with a 49.24 in the European Athletics Team Championships.
The former Railroaders state champion will become the third former Frederick County high school athlete to compete in the Olympics, following Frederick’s Debbie Thompson Brown, who ran for the U.S. in the 200-meter dash at the 1964 Olympics, and Frederick’s Vikas Gowda, who threw the discus for India at the 2004 Athens Games, 2008 Beijing Games, 2012 London Games and 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games.
Campbell began his rise with the Sea Gulls, earning 11 national championships and 16 All-American honors at the Maryland college.
“I know this is something he has been focused on since graduating and has worked extremely hard to get himself to this world-class level,” Salisbury track coach Jim Jones said in school’s press release. “We’re so proud of him and to see that his hard work over the last few years has paid off to earn this opportunity to represent Germany at the Olympics in the 400 hurdles. He is a great competitor.”
The opening rounds of the 400 hurdles are Thursday, July 29. Coverage of the Olympics in the United States will be on the NBC family of networks.
Karsten Warholm, of Norway, has the fastest time in the world this year in the 400 hurdles with a 46.70.