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Meet the Walmart deli employee who’s also a track star hoping to make the Olympic team

Dylan Beard is not your typical Olympic hopeful.
/ Source: TODAY

When it comes to Olympic athletes, Dylan Beard is cold cut from a different cloth.

Beard is a hurdler who will compete for a spot on the United States Olympic team heading to the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris. He also happens to work a full-time job at the deli counter at a Walmart.

Beard emerged as a surprise winner while competing in the 60-meter hurdles at the Millrose Games in February.

“I think I went in a lot more relaxed, like nothing to lose, a lot to gain,” he told TODAY in an interview that aired April 26.

His performance in the race made him the third fastest hurdler in the world and landed him a spot at the U.S. Olympic track and field trials in Eugene, Oregon, in June. Following his performance at the Millrose Games, Beard returned to his normal routine.

“(I) flew home, and the next day I was back to weight training, back to practicing, then back to work,” he said.

Beard is an unsponsored athlete, hoping to pay his way to Paris with his own ability and paycheck, while training at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Dylan Beard
Dylan Beard competes in the men's 100-meter hurdles at Hayward Field on July 8, 2023, in Eugene, Oregon.Melinda Meijer / ISI Photos via Getty Images

His coach, Reuben McCoy, gushes when he talks about Beard.

“His work ethic is very much unmatched. And his character speaks very highly of the man who he is,” he said.

His manager at Walmart, David Davis, echoes the sentiment about what kind of person Beard is.

“Dylan’s work ethic is next level. He provides excellent customer service all the time. He goes above and beyond, just like he does on the track,” he said.

Beard also earned his master’s degree in public health at Howard University, which he hopes he can put to use counseling at-risk youth. He says he remains dedicated to doing the best he can, whether on the track or while on the clock at Walmart.

“At the end of the day, my name is attached to what I’m doing. So yes, I’m working at Walmart in the deli, but it still represents me, which represents a lot of other people,” he said.

Beard was blown away when TODAY’s Craig Melvin presented him with a check from Walmart for $20,000 so his friends and family could support him as he makes his way to the Olympic trials.

“I’m appreciative, very appreciative. Very unexpected. And I’m thankful, very thankful,” he said.