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Polar Bear of the Week: Ajay Olson ’23

January 28, 2022

Cheng Xing
FAST TIMES: Ajay Olson '23 set a new 200m dash school record of 22.22 seconds.

Throughout this semester, the Bowdoin Orient Sports Section will highlight outstanding individual performances by Bowdoin athletes every week. All athletes are eligible to receive this distinction, and the Orient aims to include athletes from as many teams as possible by the end of the year.

The inaugural Polar Bear of the Week award recipient is Ajay Olson ’23. Olson, who has proven to be a standout on the men’s indoor track team, impressed, once again, with his third school-record-breaking performance at the Bates College Invitational on January 23.

Olson’s time of 22.22 seconds surpassed the previous record of 22.38 seconds, which had been set in 2002 by Brian Laurits ’04. In an email interview with the Orient, Olson shared the extent of the preparation needed to break a twenty-year record.

“During the summer and fall, and during our breaks, I train[ed] nearly every day,” Olson wrote. “I try to be as consistent as possible, thinking of the bigger picture each time I am training.”

However, Olson does not limit his preparation to just physical training. He accredits much of his success to the psychology of his sport as well.

“I focus on the mental aspect of my race just as much as I focus on the physical aspect. On the bus ride to a meet, I will visualize my race and how I will feel at different points throughout it,” Olson wrote. “Before each race, I clear my mind of everything else in my life and tell myself ‘this is all that matters right now.’”

Olson also acknowledged that his success would not be achievable without the support of those around him.

“I attribute my success to my coaches, teammates, family and friends,” Olson wrote. “My teammates have provided me with endless support, both on and off the track. We all have each other’s best interests in mind in everything we do.”

Regardless of such a record’s greatness, Olson never believed that the feat was out of reach for him.

“After some strong performances last spring during my outdoor season, I started to realize that I could break the indoor 200-meter dash school record,” Olson wrote. “Last spring, I broke the school record in the 100-meter dash and finished my season second all-time in the outdoor 200-meter dash. As my training progressed throughout this year, I felt it was becoming a more viable goal for me.”

As for the rest of the season, Olson has one goal in mind: to qualify for the NCAA Division III Indoor Championships.

Olson and the rest of the Bowdoin Track Team will look to continue their success at the Maine State Meet in Waterville on February 5.

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