Local Olympic Spotlight: Deajah Stevens of Bayside, NY Expected to Be Medal Contention in Rio
Bayside, New York native Deajah Stevens is looking to fill the big shoes of American sprinting legend Allyson Felix, when she competes in the Rio Olympics.
Stevens punched her ticket to Rio in a wild upset in the 200m, in which she finished second behind Torie Bowie. The race placed her ahead of defending Olympic champion, Felix, in her signature event. Stevens also toppled Oregon teammate Ariana Washington, who had ran the fifth fastest time in the world this year.
Since she still is still attending the University of Oregon, she doesn’t have a lot of experience in really big meets, and pretty much none in international races. She finished second in the outdoor NCAA championships in the 200m, which was her only other major finish. When in Junior College, she won the California state JUCO 200m and 400m titles, as well as being second in the long jump.
In Rio, Stevens should be in contention for the podium in the 200m final. Dafne Schepper and Bowie should be competing for the first two spots, but the bronze medal could be up for grabs for the rest of the field. Shaunae Miller of the Bahamas, Elaine Thompson of Jamaica, and even seven time Olympic medalist Veronica Campbell-Brown of Jamaica could compete for the bronze as well.
It’s more than likely that Stevens finds herself without a medal to take home from Rio, but making the final and competing for a podium spot should be expected. Since she is only 21, she shouldn’t be encouraged by making a final and start to set her sights on Tokyo in 2020. She still could have an outside shot at a medal, but it is unlikely.
Stevens was a three time state champion when she went to high school in Benjamin Cardozo High School in Bayside, New York. Before attending Oregon, she attended College of the Sequoias, a Junior College in California. This was because when she finished high school, she was a credit shy of being allowed to attend the University of South Carolina, She became the first ever track and field athlete from Oregon to make the Olympics while still being a student.