US Navy Plebe and Olympic athlete Regine Tugade hails from the distant US Territory of Guam. Despite the fact that she first set foot on the continental United States this past June 29, few will argue that this young lady is pretty much an All-American girl.
As reported by The Baltimore Sun, Midshipman Tugade is undoubtedly the envy of every other newly arrive “Plebe” (Freshmen class) at the US Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland.
As it turns out, Tugade is also a member of the Guam Olympic team. So the 100-meter sprinter has been granted a two-week leave of absence from the grueling Plebe Summer to represent the American Paradise in the South Pacific at the Rio Games.
As fate would have it, she’s also is the youngest Midshipman in the history of the USNA to ever compete in the Olympic Games.
As reported the The Baltimore Sun:
Making Tugade’s Olympic story even more intriguing is that she is a full-blooded Filipino though she was born and raised in Guam.
“My mother and father are both Filipinos, who emigrated from the Philippines to Guam,” explained Tugade, who first set foot in the Continental U.S. for the first time in June 29.
“You might say she’s like her own little United Nations of running,” said Carla Criste, Tugade’s Naval Academy track coach, who recruited Tugade for her sprinting skills.
“She holds numerous running records in Guam and she has connections to several different countries and has competed internationally for her home country, Guam,” added Criste.
Tugade is representing Guam as one of only five members on its entire Olympics contingent. Though her time in the 100 meters (12.26 seconds) did not meet the international Olympic qualifying time, she landed a spot on the team as one of the Guam National Olympic Committee’s universality picks — through an IOC rule that allows small countries to send athletes who don’t normally qualify to the Olympics under special circumstances.
A standout track and field star in Guam, Tugade went undefeated in the 100 meters in her senior year of high school, setting personal bests along the way. She also holds the country’s top times in the 100, 200 and 400 meters, and has the best mark in the long and triple jumps, as well.
Prior to arriving in Annapolis for the start of Plebe Summer, Tugade had never seen in person nor set foot on the Naval Academy grounds.
Guam isn’t the only US territory or commonwealth to field an Olympic team. The International Olympic Committee has authorized Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands and American Samoa the authority to form their own legitimate teams.
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