Olympic-sized heartbreak

Posted at: 02/06/2014 6:47 PM

(ABC 6 NEWS) -- "I went to Florida and ran the race of my life," Lori Anderson said.

The race Anderson is referring to is one she ran while on the Military track team; a race that qualified her for a chance to compete in the 3,000 meter run at the 1988 Olympic trials.

"I ran in the prelims. I came in with actually the fourth-best time," Anderson said. "I ran well for five and a half laps. I was in second place for that distance, and then the heat took over and I just did not run as well as I did at nationals," said Anderson.

The Lanesboro resident ran the race in 9:28, 18 seconds slower than her qualifying time.

"The heat was really getting to me and I was just feeling kind of light headed and dizzy and I just said, 'I don't know if I'm going to have it for the next mile or so,'" said Anderson.

Lori didn't make the finals, but the next day, she was given a second chance to earn a trip to Seoul on the U.S. Olympic team, except she didn't know it.

"The next morning I went to watch the finals. I am sitting up in the stands in my street clothes and they're calling my name. Lane one was empty and I was supposed to be in the finals," said Anderson.

For some reason, someone had dropped out of the final heat, and Lori was the next one in.

"Other people are looking at me and saying you're supposed to be running. I said, 'No, we checked so many times,' so that was a huge disappointment," said Anderson.

Minutes later, as the race ended, so did Lori's hopes of making it to the Olympics.

Today, Lori doesn't think about the race too often. But when she does, she relives memories most people only dream of. 

"Those are the greatest memories of my life, of being a part of something great and wanting to do well for your team and coaches," said Anderson.