A collage of photos from the Olympic Trials featuring Rachel Schneider in track uniform smiling, crossing the finish line, and standing with other medalists
News Story

Georgetown Double Alumna to Run on Team USA in 2021 Olympics

July 14, 2021 – When Rachel Schneider (NHS’13, S’15) turns 30 next week, she will, not surprisingly, be running a 1,500-meter race. After all, later this summer, Schneider will be a member of Team USA at the Olympics in Tokyo.

In late June, the Georgetown double alumna – who received her bachelor’s degree in human science at the School of Nursing & Health Studies and her master’s degree in sports industry management at the School of Continuing Studies – qualified for the team at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials.

“When I crossed that finish line and made Team USA,” Schneider recalled, “it was truly an overwhelming moment. All these feelings of exhilaration, joy, gratitude, and excitement – mixed in with some physical, emotional, and heat exhaustion from the effort – flooded through me.”

Rachel Schneider carried a flag of the United States and flowers
Schneider after qualifying for Team USA in June (Photo courtesy Jay Bendlin @jaybendlinphoto and Justin Britton @justinbritton)

‘Cherish Forever’

“That moment crossing the line, the victory lap filled with hugs, standing on the podium, and celebrating with my coach-fiancé and family afterwards are memories I’ll deeply cherish forever,” she said. (Visit a story about the trials.)

Schneider shared that her preparation for this moment has been occurring over the last 15 years – “an accumulation of work and passion poured into this craft.”

“For the past five years, since having a disappointing performance at the 2016 Olympic Trials,” she described, “I’ve really had my heart and focus set on these trials and putting myself in a position to be a top contender for making the Olympic team.” 

‘Lifelong Friends’

During her studies at Georgetown, Schneider was a member of the cross country and the track & field teams, running 800 meters, 1,000 meters, and 1,500 meters, among other long-distance events.

“Being a part of the teams were some of the best years of my life,” she added. “My time at Georgetown instilled in me a deep love for the sport, for community and team, for self-improvement, and for helping others.”

Schneider continued, “Some of my teammates are lifelong friends, and the days we shared running for Georgetown bonded us and shaped us in amazing ways. I still have nostalgia for meeting at McDonough for team practices, running on relay teams, and eating in Leo’s Dining Hall together.”

‘Such a Gift’

Schneider finished her bachelor’s degree at NHS, while also completing a minor in philosophy in the College. She then went on to SCS for her graduate degree. “These programs were challenging, enriching, and empowering,” she said.

The alumna noted she loved her years at the university. “Living in Washington DC, being a member of the Georgetown community, learning from incredible professors and peers, working with some of the very best coaches and runners in the country, it was such a gift to get to be a part of it all and pursue both my academic and athletic dreams at such a high level.”

With the Olympic games in her very near future, Schneider, who lives in Arizona, has continued to focus on refining her craft. “We’ve been hitting a few key workouts leading into the Olympics and really working on fine-tuning my finishing speed,” she said. 

The Olympian, who is planning a wedding for this coming September, acknowledges so many individuals around her who have supported her all along the literal and figurative path.

“Even though it’s only me physically out there on the track, there’s no way I’d be there without the help of so many amazing people who have played such pivotal and powerful roles in my past and present,” Schneider said.

By Bill Cessato