For sprinters, the finish line is never far.

Jeremy Dodson was wondering if he had reached the end of the line just a few years ago. Often questioning if he remained passionate about his trade, the former University of Colorado standout understood he needed a new source of motivation.

He found it when he started donning the colors of his mother's homeland, Samoa.

That shift a few years ago will allow Dodson to experience the Olympics for the first time, as the Colorado native will compete for Samoa in the 200-meter dash.

"I've had injuries, and coaching yourself takes a toll," Dodson said. "I started questioning why I was still in this sport and all that. It wasn't until the end of 2014 that I was thinking about another route. 2016 has been the beginning of that change.

"It gave me a different motivation. I've gotten to see parts of the world I never got to see before. I've experience new people. It opened my eyes and gave me a deeper vision and reason to run. I was trying to be just another U.S. Olympian, but now I have a chance to really make a difference in this one part of the world. It's an honor and a pleasure, and hopefully it will be a great experience."

After graduating from Denver's George Washington High School, Dodson initially went to the University of Arkansas before transferring back home to CU. In a track and field program that has gained national acclaim mostly behind its seemingly endless supply of world-class distance runners, Dodson rewrote the Buffs' all-time sprinter lists during his time in Boulder.


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Dodson remains CU's record-holder in the 200 meters at both indoor and outdoor meets, owning a 20.88-second indoor mark and an outdoor record of 20.37. Nine of the program's top 15 all-time marks in the indoor 200-meter dash belong to Dodson, as does eight of the top 15 outdoor times.

Dodson finished 17th in the 200 at the U.S. Olympic Trials in 2008 and he was a regular at the U.S. Outdoor Track and Field Championships, finishing third in 2011 and sixth in 2012.

Though Dodson trains in Phoenix he remains connected with his Samoan mother Peggy, who still lives in Denver. Although he will be wearing the Samoan version of red, white and blue colors in Rio, Dodson still feels like he is representing his home state, too.

"After competing for the U.S. and now going to the Olympics as a member of another country, it's more of a business trip," Dodson said. "We're going down there to take care of some business. I've always wanted to represent Colorado. I'm a Denver boy, so any chance I get I try to represent Denver. Hopefully I can make the finals and get a chance at the podium."

Pat Rooney: rooneyp@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/prooney07