Born: August 12, 1979 (Biržai, Lithuania)
Graduated: Ausra High School (Biržai, Lithuania), 1997; Kansas State University, 2003
Born over 4,500 miles away from the Sunflower State, Lithuanian native Austra Skujytė probably didn’t plan on becoming a Kansas legend growing up in the city of Biržai. Born under Soviet rule, Skujytė became not only one of the greatest all-around athletes from her home country, but also one of the greatest in Kansas history.
Skujytė’s assault on the K-State record book began during the 2001 indoor season. Her 3,935 points won her a Big 12 Conference pentathlon championship. The following year, Skujytė followed with an even more impressive performance during the indoor season as she once again won the Big 12 Conference pentathlon championship, this time setting a school record with 4,439 points.
During the outdoor season, Skujytė added two more events to her repertoire and continued to shine. In 2001, Skujytė set a K-State and Big 12 Conference record for points in the heptathlon with 6,150 points on her way to a Big 12 Conference title in the event. The following season, Skujytė also claimed a Big 12 Championship in the shot put. Her performances led the Wildcats to back-to-back outdoor conference titles in 2001 and 2002.
At the national meet, Skujytė was just as impressive as she won a pair of NCAA outdoor heptathlon national championships in 2001 and 2002.
In total, Skujytė earned four All-American selections, two in the indoor and outdoor shot put in 2002 and two in the outdoor heptathlon in 2001 and 2002. She also earned Academic All-American honors and first-team Academic All-Big 12 Conference honors in 2002.
International and Olympic Glory
Skujytė actually began her international competition while a student at K-State when she represented her home country of Lithuania in the heptathlon in the 2000 Olympic Games, where she finished twelfth. Four years later, Skujytė also competed in the Athens Olympic Games where she won the silver medal in the heptathlon with 6,435 points.
In 2005, while competing independently, Skujytė set a world record for the women’s decathlon with 8,366 points.
Skujytė competed for Lithuania again during the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games becoming the first woman to compete in the heptathlon in four consecutive Olympic Games. In 2012, Skujytė set the world heptathlon shot put record with a throw of 56 feet, nine and a quarter inches, and just missed medaling in the heptathlon for the second time.
Internationally, Skujytė also won two bronze medals in the World Indoor Championships in the pentathlon in 2004 and 2012 and also won the silver medal in the European Indoor Championships in the pentathlon in 2011.
While she has competed all over the world, Lithuanian native Austra Skujytė’s place in the history of Kansas athletics is unquestioned. From conference and national championships, to the Olympics, Skujytė represented herself, her country, and the state of Kansas, every time she took to the track.