Sunday Uti was not only one of the best track athletes in the nation during his time at ISU; he was one of the best in the world. Uti, a native of Lagos, Nigeria, earned All-America honors eight times during his career while establishing himself as one of the top-rated 400-meter runners in the world.
In 1983, Uti finished second in the 400 meters at both the indoor and outdoor NCAA Championships. He followed that season by finishing third at the 1984 NCAA Championships in the outdoor 400 meters and second at the indoor 400 meters, helping ISU place second as a team. In his final season, he placed second once again in the 440-yard dash in 1983 and the indoor 440-yard Big Eight champion in 1984, earning the meet’s most valuable performer award. Uti was also a member of ISU’s 4x400-meter relay team that finished third at the 1985 NCAA Championship with a school-record time of 3:01.17.
Uti’s excellence in track was evident even before he came to Iowa State and continued to flourish after he left Ames. Uti competed on the Nigerian 4x400-meter relay team at the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow at the young age of 17. He once again represented his country at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, earning bronze medal as the lead runner of the 4x400-meter team. He placed sixth individually in the 400 meters, clocking the best time in the finals (44.83) ever by an Iowa State, Big Eight Conference and Iowa intercollegiate athlete. He competed in his third Olympic games in Seoul in 1988, becoming only the fourth Cyclone to compete or be named to three Olympic teams (Ben Peterson, Wrestling; Curt Bader, Kayaking, Jon Brown; Track&Field).