In honor of World Running Day on June 2, the USATF celebrates all week with athlete profiles of coaches, alumni and current athletes.
Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games – United States Women’s Head Coach
USATF Women’s Track Chair
When I was nine I watched Bob Beamon win the 1968 Olympic gold medal in the men’s long jump. I stood in front of the family television and cried during the medal ceremony. I knew then that was what I wanted to do when I grew up. I was going to become an Olympian.
I am the second oldest of six children and come from a working-class background in the Los Angeles area. I was shy and lacked self-confidence. My mom signed us up for several sports to keep us out of trouble. I liked all sports that didn’t involve balling (swimming, cycling, gymnastics, roller skating), but I liked running the best. I loved the feeling of running fast and jumping. My siblings would challenge the much older neighbor boys to race me. I would always win.
In grade 8, my dad signed me up on a track team and bought me my first pair of Nike shoes. I created the girls ‘track and field team in my high school because there was only a boys’ team.
Track and field taught me to set goals and work hard to achieve them. It gave me confidence and courage to overcome my shyness and dream big. It taught me patience and resilience. It taught me to win and lose gracefully. It taught me humility. It taught me to believe in myself even when others don’t believe in me.
I put my goals there when I was nine. I reached the moon and because of it I traveled the world and got paid to do it. Although I did not become an Olympian, I did become a National Indoor Champion, a Masters World Champion and represented the USATF team.
Who would have thought that the dreams I had as a child would lead me to a fantastic racing and coaching career? The ultimate honor was to be named the 2020 Olympic Women’s Athletics Head Coach for Team USA. I hope you will cheer us all on in Tokyo.