COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP/KETK)- Deon Lendore, an Olympic bronze medal-winning sprinter for Trinidad & Tobago and former NCAA champion at Texas A&M University, was killed in a head-on collision in Texas, state police said. He was 29.
Lendore, a volunteer assistant coach at Texas A&M, died Monday after his car drifted across the center line, sideswiped a vehicle and then collided with a sport-utility vehicle, said Sgt. Bryan Washko, a Texas Department of Public Safety spokesman. Texas A&M coach Pat Henry said Lendore was driving home from practice when the crash happened.
Lendore died at the scene. The driver of the SUV, a 65-year-old woman, was taken to a hospital with serious injuries, DPS said. The driver of the vehicle sideswiped by Lendore before the collision was not injured. The cause of the crash was under investigation Tuesday.
Lendore was a track and field volunteer assistant coach for the past two seasons.
He ran in the 2012, 2016 and 2020 Olympics and anchored Trinidad & Tobago to a bronze medal in the 1,600-meter relay in London in 2012. In 2014, he went undefeated through 14 races at 400 meters while winning individual NCAA indoor and outdoor championships.
Lendore was part of the university’s track and field team from 2012-2015.
He was also the first and only Texas A&M male student to win The Bowerman, an award given to the “most outstanding male and female NCAA track & field athletes in the nation.” The honor is presented by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association.
The Olympian was also tied for Texas A&M’s Male Athlete of the Year award in 2014, and he also received the recognition the following year.
“Deon Lendore leaves an enormous legacy not only at Texas A&M, but on the world stage,” Director of Athletics Ross Bjork said. “It is an unthinkable tragedy and tremendous loss for the track and field community and for Aggies everywhere. He was a wonderful representative of Texas A&M Athletics both as a student-athlete and a volunteer coach, and we offer sincere condolences to Deon’s family, teammates and his friends.”
Texas A&M also called Lendore an “Aggie great.”
”I can’t even express this loss,” Henry said. ”Over the years our relationship had changed to not only one of my athletes to coach, but he was loved by my wife, children and grandchildren. He was part of my family. It hurts, it really hurts.”
Officials from Lendore’s hometown called him a trailblazer.
”He epitomized hope and joy each time his feet landed on the track,” Trinidad Minister of Sport and Community Development Shamfa Cudjoe said. “We thank him for everything he has done and for giving distinguished and diligent service to TT.”