Donn Cabral

School — Princeton (2012)
Country — USA
Hometown — Glastonbury, Conn.
Event — Steeplechase
Event Qualification — Tues., August 15, 9:25 am Eastern
Event Finals — Thurs., August 17, 10:50 am Eastern

It is hard to start summarizing an athlete’s accomplishments when they have done so much without sounding like a statistician, particularly when said athlete is Donn Cabral. He was a 10-time individual conference champion (cross country, 3,000m, 5,000m, 10,000m and steeplechase), an eight-time All-American honoree across the three running seasons, the 2010 Penn Relays steeplechase champion, the 2012 NCAA steeplechase champion and the American Collegiate record holder in the steeple (8:19.41).

His success in the steeplechase is increasingly astounding as he only picked up the event his sophomore year at Princeton. However, he was also very much a team member as he helped Princeton win two straight conference triple crowns (cross country plus indoor and outdoor championships) and three Penn Relays Championship of America wheels (4xMile in 2011 and 2012; Distance Medley Relay in 2012).

Cabral began his professional career right after graduation, finishing second in the Olympic Trials steeplechase and earning a spot on Team USA for the 2012 Olympic Games.  Cabral made it to the 2012 Olympic Games final, where he finished eighth overall after leading the final for the first half of the race.  In 2013, Cabral was sixth in the steeple at the US Outdoor Championships after struggling with symptoms of chronic Lyme’s disease (he was first diagnosed in elementary school).   In 2014, he ran a personal best in the 5,000m (13:22.19). Though sidelined by an Achilles injury in 2015, he was able to clock an 8:24.94 at the IAAF World Championships in Beijing, China.  Four years later, Cabral punched his second ticket to the Olympic Games after claiming third in the 3,000m steeplechase (8:26.37) at the 2016 US Olympic Trials.

With his inclusion on the 2012 US Olympic Team, Cabral becomes the first male Tiger runner to compete in the Olympics since 1924 (nine years before Albert Einstein moved to Princeton). That last runner was Bill Stevenson, who would pass away in 1985 at the age of 84. Cabral was not yet born.

– Mary Boggs & Nell Smith

Additional resources:

Social media – Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
Hartford Courant: Cabral’s Grueling Journey Makes Its Way To London
Wall Street Journal: A Princetonian’s London Leap
Writing About Running: Five Questions With Donn Cabral
HepsTrack Interview: Talking With The Men’s MVP Glastonbury runner Donn Cabral chasing down Olympic dream