Colorado State University announced the 2017 Sports Hall of Fame class in August and included among the inductees is Olympian Janay DeLoach (‘08, ‘12.) During her time as a student at CSU, DeLoach earned her B.S. in human development and family studies and psychology, and her master’s degree in the Department of Occupational Therapy. While working towards her degrees, she was always pushing her athletic limits.
Rise of an Athlete
As a member of the track and field team, DeLoach broke a number of school records, and she still holds the top two long jumps in CSU history. DeLoach says that while she was an undergraduate, the CSU Track Team helped her hone her sprinting, and when she was getting her master’s degree, CSU stepped up.
“CSU made it easy for me to continue using the facilities and the coach. They let me come and go as I pleased, and without their support I couldn’t have afforded training. Without them being so gracious and allowing me to continue to be part of the program, I never would have made it,” DeLoach said, “Other athletes did not have their colleges take care of them the way CSU took care of me. I can only say thank you.”
Between receiving her HDFS and psychology degrees in 2008 and competing in the 2012 Summer Olympics, DeLoach placed in several national long jump competitions and competed with the U.S. Track and Field team in the 2011 Dageu, Korea, World Championship.
When asked about competing in the Olympics DeLoach said, “After having such a great year in 2012, being at the Olympics and staying at the Olympic village was kind of surreal. There were thousands of other athletes who had worked just as hard as I have. It’s something special to make it to the Olympics and medaling was more than special, it was a one-of-a-kind experience.”
DeLoach is CSU’s only female track and field athlete to win an Olympic medal, taking bronze in the 2012 London games. She earned a second trip to the Olympics in 2016.
From the Olympics to Occupational Therapy
Even though DeLoach tends to not bring up her achievements, she believes that her experiences as an athlete have made her a better occupational therapist. “I work at a rehabilitation facility in Long Term Acute Care Rehab and In-Patient Rehab. I facilitate growth and progress in patients who have had a number of injuries affecting independence,” said DeLoach.
“When I broke my ankle, it made me an even better OT,” she said. “The ankle was non-weight bearing and in a cast, so I couldn’t do things like bring my meal to the table or walk my dog because of my crutches. When I went in to work, it made me realize that I was fortunate to have aches and pains that are so minor by comparison. There’s a lot worse, but, because of my own experience, I know what the work is like.”
Giving back to Fort Collins
In the coming year, DeLoach will be working with Podium Performance All Sports Speed Camp. This summer camp is DeLoach’s way of giving back to Fort Collins and thanking the town for all of the support she’s found here. “CSU set my life up for overall success in general, from athletics to occupational therapy,” explained DeLoach. “I’m able to give back because they helped me out in the long run.”
The Departments of Human Development and Family Studies and Occupational Therapy are part of CSU’s College of Health and Human Sciences.