Colleen Quigley, center, competes against Turkey’s Ozlem Kaya, right, and Bahrain’s Ruth Jebet, third from left, in heat 1 of the women’s 3,000-meter steeplechase qualifiers. (Fabrice Coffrini/Agence France-Presse via Getty Images)

Team USA steeplechase specialist Colleen Quigley traded walking on a catwalk for running on a track, and so far, so good. When the 23-year-old made the Olympic team this summer, she called it “the most amazing day” of her life.

Quigley’s 13-year-old self, however, might be a little perplexed. The Florida State grad used to model and she told Runner’s World last year she always thought she’d end up pursuing a fashion career, not necessarily a gold medal.

“It was great fun,” Quigley said of her time being managed by renowned modeling agencies Wilhelmina and Storm. (View her portfolio here.)

Discovered after attending a local casting call for a Macy’s prom dress fashion show as an eighth-grader, Quigley has fond memories of traveling with her parents for her work — and not just to nearby malls. Quigley was legit, modeling for the likes of Glamour and Seventeen magazines.

“They would have a vacation in the Bahamas while I worked at a shoot for two days,” she said. “It was pretty great. I have really good memories of it.”

All the while, Quigley continued to run and eventually landed a full-ride scholarship at FSU.


Colleen Quigley jumps over an obstacle during the women’s 3,000-meter steeplechase qualifier on Saturday. (Johannes Eisele/Agence France-Presse via Getty Images)

“When it came time to go to college, I felt it was the right choice for me to accept a scholarship as an athlete and graduate four years later with a degree and no debt,” she wrote on her personal website. “After college, the opportunity arose to continue doing what I really love, and even though I’m sure I could make quite a bit more money as a model, there is something inside me that can’t put this running thing on the back burner just yet. … I am a runner first, then model.”

And it’s a good thing for Team USA. On Saturday, Quigley qualified for the 3,000-meter steeplechase final that’s scheduled to be held Monday. She’ll be joined by Courtney Frerichs and Emma Coburn, who is the reigning U.S. champion at the event.