Karissa Schweizer

July 30, 2021
Iowan of the Week
Representing Iowa at the 2020 Olympics

Madam Speaker, I rise today to ask the House of Representatives to join me in recognizing Karissa Schweizer, Cross Country Runner and Tokyo Olympian, as our Iowan of the Week.

Schweizer has been excited about the Olympics since she was a high school runner at Dowling Catholic High School. The Urbandale native had the opportunity to see Jenny Simpson, an Iowan and Olympic gold medalist, run her victory lap at Drake University’s blue oval.

Schweizer spent much of her high school running career in the shadows of other high school athletes. Although Schweizer was talented, the attention was on the best-known runners in Dowling Catholic history, Katie, and Betsy Flood. She was only noticed by colleges she had reached out to, not by athletic recruiters who were interested in her.

During a fateful Subway stop, Schweizer and her father ran into Coach Brett Halter and his Missouri Tigers team. Schweizer’s father, Mike, introduced himself to Coach Halter and encouraged him to watch his daughter run. The Missouri staff watched Schweizer run that day and then encouraged her to visit the University of Missouri in Columbia.

Schweizer quickly became a track star for Missouri’s program. During her freshman year, she was honored as an SEC Freshman of the Year and set records for indoor track for the program. She continued to run faster and set even more records throughout her college career. She won two national titles during her time at Missouri and became the first woman from Missouri’s program to qualify for the Olympics since 1996. Schweizer is the most decorated athlete in the school’s history.

After Schweizer’s collegiate running career, she ran professionally for Bowerman Track Club in Portland, Oregon. She set a new American record in the indoor 3,000 meter by over seven seconds.

Karissa Schweizer will make her Olympic debut in Tokyo on Friday, July 30. She qualified for the 5,000 meter and 10,000 meter runs. Karissa’s Iowa roots, come across in the way she carries herself, trains, and represents our great country and it is my honor to name Karissa Schweizer as our Iowan of the Week. We are so proud of you, Karissa! We’ll be cheering you on back home!