5 questions with… comedian show organizer, record-breaking athlete Temi Omilabu

Temi OmilabuThe past four months have been busy for Temi Omilabu. When she wasn’t setting new university track and field records—which she promptly broke again and again—she was planning tonight’s Spring Comedian Show, featuring Demetri Martin and Michael Che.

As the University Program Board’s director of traditions, Omilabu, a junior studying political science and English, was charged with organizing the event from start to finish—with the results on display for crowds tonight (March 18) at 7 p.m. in Severance Hall.

Omilabu and other event organizers selected Martin, a stand-up comedian, by popular student demand and Che for his work on Saturday Night Live.

Last year, Omilabu remembers Nick Offerman—also known as Ron Swanson on NBC’s Parks and Recreation—breaking into a rendition of “Bye Bye Sebastian,” to which the almost sold-out crowd of 2,000 joined in.

Because she and her team modeled event planning after last year’s successful show with Offerman, all signs point to another night full of humor.

“I find it really special to be able to plan things that people are going to remember,” she said. “I think looking back on college, people think of those really fun weekends like homecoming and Hudson Relays and going to stuff like the comedian and fall concert.”

While planning the comedian show certainly will stand out in her mind, Omilabu will have another special college experience to look back on: breaking the school record in track and field throwing events—four times this season.

Temi Olimabu competing in track and field eventWhen the indoor track and field season opened, Omilabu broke the university record with a 16.35-meter toss. Throughout the following eight meets, continued besting her own mark, ending the indoor season at the beginning of March with an invitation to the Polar Bear Last Chance Meet at Ohio Northern University, where she recorded a 17-meter toss.

But Omilabu never intended to pursue collegiate athletics. Even when she decided to try out, it was to run, not throw.

While she had thrown briefly in high school, it hadn’t been her main event. But coach Eric Schmuhl saw potential in Omilabu and encouraged her to make the switch.

Heading into the season, the two sat down to set personal goals for the season and decided Omilabu should work toward hitting the 16-meter mark.

“It was a season full of surprises,” she said. “Looking back, it’s crazy that I’ve achieved all of those.”

But Omilabu is far from done. The spring season starts in just a few days and she will take on the challenge of beating the record once again—this time with the hammer and discus.

Head out to tonight’s show (tickets still are available at the Severance Hall box office) or to a meet this spring to see the result of all of Omilabu’s efforts. But before you do, get to know her a little better in this week’s five questions.

1. What is your proudest accomplishment?

I think my proudest accomplishment so far was breaking the school record at that first meet back in December—just because it wasn’t something I never imagined I could do. When it happened, I was kind of in disbelief. It was a really special moment for me.

2. If you could do anything you wanted for a day, what would you do?

I really like exploring new things, so probably visiting a new city and getting acquainted with it. I’d like to go somewhere in Latin America.

3. Who would you want to play you in a movie of your life?

Kerry Washington, not just because she’s really great in Scandal, but because I think she’s awesome in general. If I could be any actress, I’d want to be her.

4. If you could go back in time and tell your childhood self something, what would you say?

I’d probably tell my childhood self to just calm down and go with the flow. When I was younger, I got into the habit of trying to plan things in the future. I’ve realized that a lot of the stuff I’ve done have happened on a whim or out of a coincidence, and sometimes it’s OK to just let life guide you through it.

5. What’s your favorite thing about Case Western Reserve?

I really like the people I’ve met here; some people have grown to become my best friends. I’ve also been really inspired by my teammates, professors and advisers who I’ve had over the past three years.