Georgia track star Matthew Boling turns pro to ‘pursue Olympic dreams’

ATHENS – One of Georgia’s greatest sprinters of all time has run his last race for the Bulldogs.

Junior Matthew Boling announced on social media Tuesday his plans to turn pro now in order to “pursue my Olympic dreams.” The Houston native will leave UGA as one of the school’s most decorated track athletes in history, both athletically and academically.

“From Houston, Texas, to Athens, Georgia, my dreams have stayed the same,” Boling says during a video montage showing him running as a 12-year-old up through winning a gold medal at the World Championships this summer. “… My time at the University of Georgia has been amazing, and I want to thank everybody who has helped me along the way. A new chapter begins.”

Amazing might not be a strong enough word for what Boling accomplished at Georgia. He arrived as one of the most accomplished junior sprinters to ever sign with the Bulldogs. He burst on the scene when football coach Kirby Smart used him as secret weapon in a relay race between coaches at players on Spec Towns Track (Boling ran Smart’s final leg).

From there, Boling basically accomplished everything there was to accomplish. He was named an SEC scholar-athlete of the year in every season he ran for the Bulldogs. On the track, he was tabbed the SEC’s freshman of the year in 2020 and went on to finish his career as a 14-time first-team All-American while capturing NCAA individual titles at 2023 indoor championships (200-meters in school record 20.12) and the 2021 indoors (200m in then school record 20.19)

Boling established the school’s 100-meter record with a wind-aided time of 9.98 last spring and was crowned SEC champion in the indoor 60 meters and the outdoor 200 meters. Boling already graduated from UGA with a bachelor’s degree in marketing and earned a $10,000 postgraduate scholarship from the SEC. He earned memberships in the Gridiron and Blue Key National Honor Society and became the conference’s first four-time SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year in any sport.

Boling came along at Georgia at a perfect time in the age of NIL. He landed major endorsement deals with Dunkin Donuts, Epic Games, Merrell footwear, Nike and Phillips Norelco.

Last month, Boling ran the third leg for Team USA’s mixed 4x400-meter relay that won a gold medal with a world record time at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary. He teamed with Justin Robinson, Rosey Effiong and Alexis Holmes to run a 3:08.80, which beat the previous record by more than two seconds.

Boling’s decision was based on his desire to train for the U.S. Olympic trials in the hopes of earning a spot in the 2024 Summer Games in Paris.

“I’m going to make sure no stone is left unturned,” Boling told the Associated Press. “... I believe this next step is going to get me where I want to be.”

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