RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil — Former UNC Pembroke all-American Pardon Ndhlovu (2009-13) bested 114 of the world’s best athletes in his Olympic debut at Rio 2016 on Sunday morning.
Ndhlovu, who collected all-American recognition in both cross country and track & field for the Braves, registered a time of 2:17:48 en route to a 41st place finish and his share of history in the Olympic annals. His time was tops of the three Zimbabwe entries into the event. Cuthbert Nyasango (2:18:58) and Wirimai Juwawo (DNF) both competed in the 2012 games in London as well.
Ndhlovu, who worked at a blistering mile pace of 5:11 for the first 30 kilometers, completed the grueling 26.2-mile road race with a pace of 5:16 per mile.
Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge took home Olympic gold with a time of 2:08:44, while Ethiopia’s Feyisa Lilesa (2:09:54) won the silver medal and Galen Rupp of the United States captured the bronze medal with a time of 2:10:05.
Ndhlovu ran cross country and track for the Black & Gold from 2009-13. A four-time all-Peach Belt Conference standout, the Harare, Zimbabwe, native won the 2011 and 2012 PBC Championship and was named the PBC Runner of the Year both seasons, one of only four PBC men’s runners to ever win that award twice. His 2012 championship time of 24:20 stands as the third-fastest 8k run in the PBC Championships.
He also competed in PBC track and field in his senior season in 2013, the first year the conference held it as a championship sport. He was named the PBC Men’s Track Athlete of the Year that season, winning the 1,500- 5,000- and 10,000-meter runs. He advanced to the NCAA National Championships and was named an all-American in both the 5000- and 10000-meter runs. He still holds the PBC record in the 10000-meter run for all meets at 29:04.01.
Ndhlovu was named a Capital One Academic All-American twice during his career and received the NCAA postgraduate scholarship which allowed him to serve as a graduate assistant coach at Augusta for two years.