EDINBURG, Texas (KVEO) — The pandemic put many athlete’s lives on pause, making some miss seasons altogether. For one UTRGV Track and Field standout, an extra year of eligibility was just what she needed.
Desirea Buerge, a graduate transfer dual athlete, has officially secured a shot at the Tokyo Olympic Games.
“It has put me on cloud nine,” Buerge commented. The year full of unknowns, resulting in the opportunity of a lifetime for the discus and shot put thrower.
“I knew I had the potential to get to the Olympics it’s always been a thought,” she said. “And now seeing it, seeing that it’s actually real that I get to go to trials and I get to make an attempt at being an Olympian, it’s the best feeling ever.“
Buerge secured a spot in the 2021 U.S. Olympic Trials with a 58.90-meter throw at the Roadrunner Invitational in San Antonio last weekend. The distance to qualify is 58 meters. The throw, a program-best, put her at first in the Western Athletic Conference (WAC), fourth in NCAA Division I, fifth in the country, and in the top 30 in the world.
The opportunity of a lifetime to compete in the Olympics, but it may have not even happened had Buerge not been granted an additional year of eligibility due to the pandemic.
“It’s just pushed everything back really,” she said. “Because giving me this extra year to train for track actually ended up being more in my favor because coming off of basketball, I would have not been in the best shape to throw in track.”
But if you asked her last year, her focus was on her future, not becoming an Olympian. Buerge has spent her final year at UTRGV working towards acceptance to nursing school.
“I want to be able to help out the families and help them understand what is going on and what they can do while they’re in there,” she said. Her passion for helping others is rooted in her own experience with family member’s time in the hospital.
“I watched how the nurses took care of him, made sure he was okay, made sure he was comfortable, but also made sure we were okay,” she said. “That’s really what happened that led me on the path to being a nurse.”
A path that might be put on hold one more time for Tokyo.
“If it ends up pushing back nursing, it ends up pushing back nursing.”
A risk, she’s willing to take.
Buerge will compete in the Olympic Trials for track and field on June 18th in Eugene, Oregon.