Billy Nelson
Personal information
Full nameWilliam Andrew Nelson
Nationality United States
Born (1984-09-11) September 11, 1984 (age 39)
Bakersfield, California[1]
Height1.65 m (5 ft 5 in)
Weight55 kg (121 lb)
SportTrack and field
Event3000 metres steeplechase
College teamColorado
Coached byMark Wetmore[1] & Heather Burroughs
Achievements and titles
Olympic finals2008, steeplechase
World finals2011, steeplechase
National finals2008 Olympic Trials Runner Up 2011 USA Champion
Personal best1500 m: 3:41.57 (2012) 3000 m steeplechase: 8:17.27 (2011)

William Andrew Nelson (born September 11, 1984, in Bakersfield, California, attended Taft Union High School) is an American steeplechase runner.[2] He is a two-time (2007 and 2008) Big 12 Conference steeplechase titleholder, a six-time NCAA All-American, and a runner-up at the 2008 NCAA Outdoor Championships.[1] He also posted a personal best time of 8:17.27 by finishing eleventh at the 2011 Diamond League Meet in Monaco.[3] In the same year, Nelson claimed his first ever career title at the U.S. Outdoor Track & Field Championships, with a time of 8:28.46.[4][5]

Nelson earned a spot on the U.S. team for the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, by placing second at the U.S. Olympic Trials in Eugene, Oregon, with a time of 8:21.47.[6] He competed as a member of the U.S. track and field team in the men's 3000 m steeplechase, along with his teammates Anthony Famiglietti and Joshua McAdams. Nelson ran in the second heat against thirteen other athletes, including Famiglietti, and France's Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad, who later won the silver medal in the final. He finished the race in eleventh place by six tenths of a second (0.60) behind Great Britain's Andrew Lemoncello, with a time of 8:36.66. Nelson, however, failed to advance into the final, as he placed thirtieth overall, and was ranked farther below four mandatory slots for the next round.[7]

Nelson earned a spot on the U.S. team for the 2011 World Championships in Daegu, South Korea, by winning the steeplechase event at the U.S. Track & Field Championships.

Nelson also sought to qualify for his second Olympics in London; however, he finished only in eighth place at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials, with a time of 8:32.21.[8]

In 2014, Nelson decided to take his participation in Track & Field to the next level, by running for the freedom of Leonard Peltier. He ran in a "Free Leonard Peltier" jersey in four races, including the Payton Jordan Invitational, where he won the steeplechase in a time of 8:28.40. He also wore the jersey at the USA Championships in Sacramento, CA, where he placed 12th overall.[9]

Nelson currently resides in Boulder, Colorado, with his wife Alisa, and four children: Arabella Kennedy, Noah Andrew, Lonnie Jack and Wyatt Watkins. He works as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator for the Cross Country/Track & Field programs at the University of Colorado at Boulder.


  1. ^ a b c d "USATF – Billy Nelson". USA Track & Field. Retrieved January 8, 2013.
  2. ^ Evans, Hilary; Gjerde, Arild; Heijmans, Jeroen; Mallon, Bill; et al. "Billy Nelson". Olympics at Sports Reference LLC. Archived from the original on April 18, 2020. Retrieved January 8, 2013.
  3. ^ "Centrowitz resets Oregon 1,500 record on European tour". Register Guard Online. July 23, 2011. Archived from the original on February 16, 2013. Retrieved January 7, 2013.
  4. ^ "Billy Nelson Wins USATF Steeplechase Title". Boulder Running. June 25, 2011. Archived from the original on April 3, 2013. Retrieved January 8, 2013.
  5. ^ Evans, Jeff (June 24, 2012). "Chase is on again for Billy Nelson". The Bakersfield Californian. Retrieved January 8, 2013.
  6. ^ Dunaway, James (July 6, 2008). "Gay cramps up and will miss Beijing 200m - US Olympic Trials, Day 7". IAAF. Retrieved January 8, 2013.
  7. ^ "Men's 3000m Steeplechase Round 1 – Heat 2". NBC Olympics. Archived from the original on August 21, 2012. Retrieved January 8, 2013.
  8. ^ Ewing, Zach (June 28, 2012). "Nelson finishes 8th, misses out on Olympics". The Bakersfield Californian. Retrieved January 8, 2013.
  9. ^ "Mike Sandrock: Billy Nelson racing to back Leonard Peltier". June 16, 2014.