Country: United States of America
Profession: Director of Track and Field, Howard University
- Former 110m Hurdles athlete
- 2008 Beijing Olympics bronze medallist
- 2015 Pan American Games gold medallist
- 2013 World Championship gold medallist
- 2010 World Indoor Championships bronze medallist
- 2010 Continental Championships gold medallist
- 3x Diamond League winner (2010,2013,2015)
Of all your incredible achievements, which one is your favourite and why?
There’s been so many moments that I consider favorite that it is extremely hard to choose one. Some were winning medals, while a bunch of achievements that I consider “favorite” fly way under the radar to the public. But, since I am backed into a corner and must pick just one, I would say my favorite achievement of my running career was winning the World Championships. It was such a soul-searching and mentally straining process that started the fall of 2012 and to see it culminate 9-10 months later standing on top of the podium, meant the world. Winning is the most important part of track and field to me.
When you got that first shoe deal to turn pro – can you tell us what went through your mind as you signed the deal?
Relief. That’s exactly what went through my mind when I finally inked that deal. When I first started on my journey at the elite level, I was working regular jobs for my first three years. I would work from 8:30am until 3:00pm, then start training at 4:00pm, pretty much every day. I’ve never been afraid of putting in whatever work it takes to be successful, but it was great to go from working at NikeTown to then walking in there a couple years later and they had my Nike posters up. Always believe in yourself, if you can dominate the six inches between your left and right earlobes, you can be unstoppable.
Can you describe the most technical aspects of the 110m hurdles for us non-hurdlers?
I have always felt that the hurdles are the most technically demanding event in our sport. If you are not on point mentally and physically, while negotiating those ten barriers, at that high amount of speed, disaster will strike. What I consider the most technical aspect of hurdling is the ability to have the mental dexterity to adjust on the fly.
You have been ranked among the best 110m hurdlers in the world, was this always your goal?
I think it was pretty amazing to spend a decade ranked among the best hurdlers in the world, definitely not a position I thought I would be in when I started my journey on the elite level. A lot of credit is due to the individuals behind the scenes that moulded a ball of clay into one of the best hurdlers of my era: my coach Brooks Johnson, Keith Rucker and Randy Hadley. It was not a goal of mine though. My goals were always year to year. My first goal as a professional was to earn enough money running races in Europe to buy a Chevrolet Impala LOL! So, I ran about 30 races all over to accomplish that simple, yet very important goal.
Transitioning out of sport can be challenging for athletes, looking back, is there anything you may have done differently to prepare for this transition?
I had a very smooth transition out of the sport and there is nothing I would have done differently to prepare. Coaches and older training partners provided my great guidance about “the end” from the onset of my career and I have never had an issue listening or following instructions. I built a great savings and retirement account due to their teachings because we all must call “time” on our careers as athletes. I am very thankful to them for that guidance. I have segued into coaching at Howard University, and I absolutely love how this transition went, but I am fully aware that I am rather lucky to be in this position.
Often athletes struggle to find new, meaningful goals in ‘normal life’, what was your experience like?
Once again, having the privilege to stay involved in the sport post-career has helped me maintain competitive goals, which is key for me because I am a hyper competitive person. Only thing that has changed with my goals is I’m on the other side of the stopwatch now. It’s beautiful to be able to pour into younger athletes and have an opportunity to become a difference maker in their developing lives at the same institution that gave me my start.
What is your favourite place to visit when you are not working?
My favorite place to be when I’m not working is the same place it was when I was done training or competing and that is at my house on the couch relaxing. I am thankful for all of the opportunities I have had to travel the globe; I’ve been through three passports and visited some of the most amazing cities and countries. I did things I never thought I would have done, but at the end of the day, no place is better to me than being at my house!