Elle Purrier St. Pierre’s Olympic Journey Ends with a Butterfly
Former UNH runner Elle Purrier St. Pierre finished 10th in the final of the women's 1,500 meter at the Summer Olympic in Tokyo on Friday morning.
She finished with a time of 4:01:75, a quarter second off her time during her semi-final run on Wednesday. It was three seconds off her personal best.
Kenya’s Faith Kipyegon won the gold and broke an Olympic record with a time of 3:53:11 ahead of Laura Muir of Great Britan and Sifan Hassan from the Netherlands.
"A shining star on the world stage. We are incredibly proud of Elle Purrier St. Pierre. Her story & her commitment to her community is world class. No medal this race but forever an Olympian," Vermont Secretary of Agriculture tweeted after the race.
Her family and friends watched the race in the gym at Richford High School in Richford, Vermont where an American flag flies high hung from a fire department ladder truck.
Going into the race the 26-year-old who grew up on a dairy farm in Montgomery, Vermont credited her late grandmother Beverly on her Instagram page for being a source of strength for her and how she had felt her presence in the months leading up to the games.
"I was always very close with my grandmother as we shared many of the same interests and personality traits such as being independent and strong willed, but also having classful taste and appreciating the details in life. She loved flowers (red geraniums) and she especially loved butterflies," the 2018 UNH graduate wrote.
Purrier St. Pierre said that presence was confirmed just after Wednesday's semifinal.
"It was a butterfly that fluttered inches away from me and then off into the stadium center, and I immediately knew it was a sign from her. Maybe it was because I asked the reporter if she saw the same thing as I did or maybe it was because the butterfly was so obviously misplaced but she asked me if it meant something to me…and I without a doubt in my mind said yes it means very much to me," Purrier St. Pierre wrote. "She is with me, she loves me and she is so proud."
The 26-year-old Vermont native who grew up on a dairy farm graduated from UNH in 2018.
Earlier in the games diver Jess Parratto and diving partner Delaney Schnell made history by being the first U.S. pair to medal in women’s 10-meter platform synchronized diving ever.