Olympics are about ‘the moment’ for Warner


Photo: Brandi Boyett/Iowa State Daily

Ian Warner was one of four athletes with ISU ties to compete at the 2012 Olympic games in London. Warner was an alternate for the 4×100-meter relay team for Canada. 

Dylan Montz

After traveling from the United States to Canada, Mexico, Germany and England all in a span of a few months, ISU senior sprinter Ian Warner is ready to take a little time off from track and field after traveling with Team Canada to the 2012 London Olympic Games.

That is not to say he did not enjoy his time at the Olympics.

“It’s hard to even put into words,” said Ian, a native of Markham, Ontario. “It was honestly just amazing. You think about all of the work and dedication it even took to get there in the first place. It makes you reflect on your whole career and when you look back on it, it makes it all just that much more worth it.”

For Ian, the long summer of travel that took him all over the world made him feel homesick at times, but he said having his older brother, Justyn, there with him every step of the way made it that much more enjoyable.

“It just made the experience much smoother,” Ian said about Justyn being with him through all of the competition. “To be over there and know that your brother is with you for every step, it adds the ‘home’ element.”

Justyn, who ran track for Texas Christian, was the 100-meter dash champion at the 2012 Canadian Olympic Trials.

At the Canadian Trials, Ian had gotten second place behind Justyn and was set to compete with his brother in the Canadian 4×100-meter relay team in London.

As race day in London approached, however, Ian’s name did not appear in the lineup of runners competing in the 4×100, and that is when he found out he had not been selected to run for Canada.

The Canadian relay coach had decided to select another runner to compete in Warner’s place. Without Ian, Canada made it to the Olympic finals of the 4×100 relay, where it would finish in third place behind Jamaica and the United States to earn the bronze medal.

Any hopes of receiving that medal were dashed in just a few moments, however, when it was confirmed the third runner for Canada had stepped on the line during an exchange — automatically disqualifying the squad.

“A lot of people have been saying that it was karma and that I deserved to run and then [the team] got disqualified; but to be honest, I was so happy for them I was shaking,” Warner said of his emotion before he had learned the team was disqualified. “I immediately ran down to the front row, and my brother came over, and I gave him a big hug.”

Warner said it was after that moment that everything changed.

“It went from one of the happiest moments ever to seeing them just all lying on the track,” Warner said. “My brother ran extremely well in that race and to just see him lying on the track crying, it made me start to cry. It went from being so happy to so sad in minutes.”

Warner said even though it hurt to not be selected to run in the Olympics with his brother and teammates, he wished nothing but the best for them during the race. Now, that moment is where he will draw his motivation from.

“If the Olympics don’t motivate you to want to be better as an athlete, then nothing will,” Warner said. “To go to the Olympics and not compete, that’s one of the best motivating factors that I’ve ever had. I’ve got that in my back pocket for the next four years.”

At Iowa State, sprints coach Nate Wiens said while all Warner needs right now is a little time off, he is anxious to train again and see what Warner’s final season in a Cyclone uniform will bring.

“It was a good learning experience,” Wiens said of Warner’s time in London. “That got him really hungry for what he needs to do and accomplish on an individual level to have success for the next four years of his career in the track and field world. It was motivating for him.”

Wiens, along with sophomore teammate and fellow sprinter Nick Efkamp, said Warner’s experiences over the course of his time throughout the world during the past summer will be very valuable to the other members of the ISU track and field team.

Efkamp also said seeing Warner’s successes gets him excited and motivated for the upcoming season.

“If you want to be the best, you have to practice with the best,” Efkamp said. “Ian has all of that experience. He has seen the highest side of the sport and the better competition. I think — if anything — it is benefiting us short sprinters that we get the knowledge from Ian and that we have that person to practice with. That is really going to push us.”

Warner also said he is ready to face his senior season at Iowa State head-on.

“I got to be around a lot of pro athletes while I was [in London] and see how they live their life,” Warner said. “That was motivating to me to finish strong and make sure that I have a good year at Iowa State so that maybe I’ll have a chance to do it again one day.”