USD Alum Nilsen Officially A 2x Olympian

INDIANAPOLIS, IN ( —The United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee today announced its official roster for the 2024 U.S. Olympic Team and South Dakota alumnus Chris Nilsen is one of 592 athletes who will represent Team USA this summer in Paris.

Nilsen is a 2020 graduate of the University of South Dakota. He was a three-time NCAA Champion in the men’s pole vault. Nilsen was a seven-time All-American for the Coyotes, taking at least bronze at each NCAA Championship held during his collegiate career. He holds South Dakota’s indoor and outdoor pole vault records.

Nilsen, a native of Kansas City, Missouri, has continued to excel post-collegiately. Paris will be Nilsen’s second Olympic Games. He’s a four-time medalist on the world stage. His trophy case includes a silver from the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, a bronze from the 2022 World Indoor Championships, a silver from the 2022 World Championships and a bronze from the 2023 World Championships. He owns a personal best of 19-10 ¼ (6.05m) from the 2022 season.

The American collegiate athletics system plays a vital role in Team USA’s success on the Olympic stage. This summer in Paris, 75% of U.S. Olympians will have competed collegiately as part of their journey to Team USA. In total, 169 schools from 45 different conferences will have one or more U.S. Olympians competing in Paris.

Twenty-one teams have at least 80% collegiate participation on their U.S. Olympic rosters, including 15 teams that are comprised 100% of collegiate athletes: women’s basketball, men’s and women’s 3×3 basketball, beach volleyball, men’s and women’s indoor volleyball, diving, fencing, women’s field hockey, women’s rugby, modern pentathlon, men’s and women’s water polo, rowing and triathlon. College athlete representation on the 2024 U.S. Olympic Team spans all three NCAA Divisions (I, II and III), as well as junior colleges, NAIA schools and collegiate club programs.

“We are incredibly grateful for the collegiate athletics administrators, coaches and support staff who inspire greatness in the student-athletes who will represent Team USA in Paris this summer,” said USOPC CEO Sarah Hirshland. “With more than 440 current and former college athletes on the U.S. Olympic Team, we know they are competing not only for themselves and our country, but also proudly for their schools and school communities.”

The Paris 2024 Olympic Games kick off Friday, July 26 and run through Sunday, Aug. 11. During this time, the city of Paris will welcome more than 10,000 Olympians from around the world to compete in 32 different sports. In total, there will be 329 medal events with Olympic competition spanning 40 different venues. Tune-in to NBC and Peacock to watch the Opening Ceremony at noon ET on July 26, with Primetime coverage starting that evening at 7:30pm local time.

Nilsen takes the stage in the preliminaries of the men’s pole vault competition at 3:10 a.m. CDT on Saturday, Aug. 3. The men’s pole vault final is set for noon CDT on Monday, Aug. 5.