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Amanda Bingson set to enter UNLV Athletics Hall of Fame

Here’s the ironic part: She never wanted at attend college.

“My mom changed that,” Amanda Bingson said. “She told me if I didn’t get a degree, I was out of the will. I was like, ‘OK, fine.’”

Look at her now.

Bingson is among those who will be part of UNLV’s Athletics Hall of Fame Class of 2022 on Saturday, a former track and field thrower who qualified for the London Olympics in 2012.

She was a walk-on at UNLV out of Silverado High and had never thrown the hammer until college. How crazy. Bingson left the greatest in school history.

“It definitely was something that changed my life in a positive way and in the most epic kind of way,” Bingson said. “We had a small program at UNLV — only three throwers. But that intimacy made everything special as opposed to being at a really big program.”

A three-time All-American, Bingson’s throw of 233 feet in Austin, Texas, in May 2012, remains the Mountain West and school record.

“We revived our Hall of Fame ceremonies this year in order to properly honor the best of the best from UNLV’s rich history of competition,” UNLV Athletics Director Erick Harper said via statement. ”The executive board selected a group that is as well-rounded as it is accomplished.”

The Olympic berth to London for Bingson was as unexpected as most anything. She arrived at the Games shortly after departing UNLV merely satisfied just to be part of the U.S. team strolling into the Opening Ceremonies. She would not make it out of qualifying.

It was a different vibe four years later and the Rio Games on deck.

Bingson was then the American record holder with a throw of 75.73 meters, or 248 feet, 5¼ inches. But you have to earn your way onto an Olympic team and Bingson chose to have one of her worst days at the U.S. Trials in Oregon, finishing fourth and one spot out of qualifying for the Games.

She was was one of the event’s favorites. She didn’t come close.

She had also broken her back just months earlier and told no one.

“Don’t let anyone know, right?” she said. “There had been more added pressure because I had already been to one Olympics. But I had a (bleep) day, and it sucked. Track is a cutthroat business.”

Much like in qualifying for London, she always has been ahead of schedule. That includes posing naked on the cover of an annual Body Issue of ESPN The Magazine in 2015. Another example that world-class athletes come in all shapes and sizes, helping to humanize the message around all those six-pack abs we expect to see in such images.

Her message then was the same as it is now, perhaps even more significant when you consider how cruel social media can be with each passing day when it comes to teenage girls developing negative feelings about their bodies.

Being healthy

“You grow up in Vegas and you see all the billboards thrown at you about how you’re supposed to look,” Bingson said. “You don’t have to be a twig to be beautiful. It’s how you present yourself, how you treat yourself. We all don’t fit into the same little television. That’s not realistic.

“I hope (young woman of today) know this. It’s not about the scale. It’s about being honest with yourself. There’s a fine line between being healthy and unhealthy.”

Bingson never officially retired. She was throwing better than ever in 2018 when a broken foot curtailed the journey for good. Sponsors left. Everything was pulled out from under her.

“So I went and got a job,” she said.

That’s as a paramedic in Texas. She’s also set to marry in September.

But not before she becomes a UNLV Hall of Famer.

Not bad for someone who never wanted to attend in the first place.

Review-Journal sports columnist Ed Graney can be reached at egraney@reviewjournal.com. Follow @edgraney on Twitter.

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