NEW YORK - Former Mount Vernon Knight Rai Benjamin is now known as the second-fastest man in history in the 400-meter hurdles. On Monday night, Benjamin broke a world record despite taking home silver running an incredible 46.17 at the Olympic Games in Tokyo.
Members of Rai's graduating class along with some passionate undergrads are now trying to follow in his footsteps.
"Rai has always been the paragon for Mount Vernon track and field," Spencer Seide said. "He's the proud example of 'You can achieve whatever you put your mind to.'"
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Many say the most inspiring part of Rai Benjamin is not just his skills but the fact that he is a man of color who never forgot his roots in Mount Vernon.
"It shows that a kid from Mount Vernon can make it if they put hard work, dedication [into] something," head coach Amado Lambert said. "It also shows what track and field and the doors it can open for them."
Benjamin has left his runner's footprint on this pulverized rubber in Mount Vernon. As he continues on in his track career, the men who are still dreaming of going for gold know they can one day be just like the Olympian who came before them.
"He really inspires me to push past his limit to what he did," Nicardo Blake said. "I want to go above and beyond. To get to that level, I have to work really hard."