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Good as Gold

U.S. Olympic gold medalist David Verburg, Health, Fitness, and Recreation Resources ’13, returned to campus in February, where he was honored during the men’s basketball game with La Salle.

Mason alumnus and Olympic gold medalist David Verburg poses with fans during the men’s basketball game against La Salle in February. Photos by Bethany Camp

“I’m definitely excited to be back,” says Verburg, who lives in Gainesville, Florida, and hadn’t been on campus since his 2013 graduation.

Verburg, an 11-time All-American and two-time Colonial Athletic Association male athlete of the year, is the first George Mason track and field standout to win Olympic gold. He is the second to medal, joining Greg Haughton, a three-time bronze medalist for Jamaica.

Verburg’s gold medal came at the 2016 Rio Olympics as part of the 4×400-meter relay team. Verburg ran the anchor leg in a heat that advanced the team to the final, but he missed the championship race because of plantar fasciitis in both feet and a torn tendon in his right foot, injuries that took two and a half months to heal.

“It was hard to watch,” says Verburg said of the final. “But if I tried to run and couldn’t finish, I would ruin the chances not only for myself and my teammates. In a relay, you can’t be selfish.”

Healthy now, Verburg is training for the 2017 U.S. outdoor championships in June in Sacramento, California. The meet is a qualifier for August’s world championship in London.

Verbug is the first Mason track and field standout to win Olympic gold.

As for life after track, Verburg said he is exploring business opportunities and is creating a nonprofit organization in Gainesville that will offer afterschool athletic and academic programs.

“I’ve been really blessed in my life in so many ways,” Verburg says. “It’s a way to help somebody achieve what I have. It’s a way to give back.”