USA Athlete Quotes - Olympics, Day 7

USA Athlete Quotes - Olympics, Day 7

Provided by USATF


Athlete Quotes - Olympics, Day 7



EVENING SESSION


Women’s 400m hurdles final


Delilah Muhammad


On her emotions...


“I was just happy it was over and relieved to come out with a win. I’m so thankful. I didn’t know Ashley had got third at the time. That she made it too and became an Olympic medalist, I’m so proud of her and of myself. We’re making history out here and I’m just so happy to be a member of that legacy.



“I felt really good. I wanted to get out like I normally do and stick to my race plan that I’ve been working on all year. I had little hiccups in the race, but you have little hiccups in every race, and no race is perfect. I just worked as hard as I could possibly work off the last hurdle.”



On Kerron Clement’s gold medal earlier in the day...


“I was so happy for him. I was more happy for him than for myself.”



Ashley Spencer


“I’m really happy. Once again, I had so many mistakes. I ended up on my right leg after hurdle three and could just not get away from the hurdle. I hurdled with the wrong leg the entire way. It’s aggravating. But this is my first year of hurdling full time and I have a lot to learn. So next year I should be able to clean it up and have some more clean races.



On the women’s 100 hurdles and U.S. women’s hurdle excellence...


“I’m so blessed to be a part of that. We are a talented group of people, and we support each other and uplift each other. Just to be a part of that at a young age, and me just starting my professional career is just a blessing and an honor.



On Team USA’s medal momentum...


“I honestly think what started all of this is Michelle Carter. I look up to her so much and she brought home the gold, and she just really catapulted the whole attitude of Team USA and we just built off that momentum. I mirror myself to be a woman like she is. I thank her for winning the momentum and for everybody for keeping it going.”



Men’s 200m final


LaShawn Merritt


“Coming down the home stretch, I didn’t have as much as I thought I had in reserve, but I’m feeling healthy, that’s what it’s about. Now I have to get ready for the 4x400.”



On his start and finish...


“I knew from the start that I am not the best starter. I’m going against 100 meter starters, 60 meter starters. So I knew they were going to get out. I wanted to close good, but coming down the home stretch I didn’t have as much pop in my legs as I thought that I had. But I feel good.”



“I’ve been around a lot of races. My plan going in was to give it all that I had and that’s what I had and I will deal with the results. Everything is cool with me, now I will focus on the 4x400m.”



On Usain Bolt doubling in the 100m and 200m...


“He’s great at what he does. I don’t feel like the race was crazy fast. But he won the race, the plan was to get on the podium and he won the race.”



Men’s decathlon final


Ashton Eaton


“I’m glad that this wasn’t just an easy walkthrough. I guess the decathlon is never just an easy walk through, but Kevin Mayer was there to push me to the test and I think I passed the test. I’m glad he was there to do that.”



On repeating as the decathlon gold medalist...


“I’m just happy to be a part of the family, the decathlon family. Regardless of the records and to be a two-time medalist is great, but it’s just greatest to be a decathlon.”



On coach Harry Marra...


“Harry is the greatest of all time. He has put his heart and soul into this four 40 years, and to do this for him was big for me. I think that showed in my throwing. My throwing is what kept me in this competition. Every time I was out there in the rain or on the tarp, I was thinking, ‘this one’s for you.’”



On the differences between the 2012 and 2016 Olympics...


“The second time around, so far I would say it feels like the same. I would say the leadup [to the Olympics] was quite a bit more difficult over the last four years.”



On what’s next...


“I’m not quite sure what’s next. I will say that it has been a pleasure to do everything that I have done up until this point. As for anything after, I can’t say.”



On wife Brianne Thiesen-Eaton...


“Brianne [Thiesen-Eaton] walked into Harry’s office four years ago and said that I’m not doing this to get 10th or 11th anymore. So for her journey to start there to say I want to be on the podium and realize that four years later was unbelieveable. I’m glad that I got to watch every second of it and she’s a massive inspiration for me. For us to have done this together, I can’t put it into words.”



“I wasn’t nervous, I was willing to run myself into the hospital if I had to. I remember I was taking a cold shower after the javelin and I was thinking, ‘yea I would do it, I’d run into that.”



“Afater the first javelin throw, I was like, ‘that’s not good, you’re going to have to do better than that.’ But after the second javelin throw I was like, ‘that’s a little better, but you’re not doing yourself any favors here Ashton.’ And after the third throw, I was like, ‘Ok, that is within reason to where I can push myself to where I would have to push myself in order to win.”



“Absolutely. Not as much as I did during the pole vault though, on my third attempt at 4.90m, that was the moment that I thought, ‘alright, your whole life was about getting ready for this, what are you going to do?’ So that was a good test.”



“I went to bed at 12, and I woke up at 6, so I did.”



“Eventually, I think so. We won’t be around. And our grandkids won’t be around, and their grandkids won’t be around but I think eventually.”



Jeremy Taiwo


“I don’t know if I was overly excited for this meet or not. I was thrilled to be here and do that, I didn’t sleep the night before and the night in-between. So to come out here and finish and with an ok score, I surprised myself. I know that practice isn’t always perfect coming into big meets, and there’s a lot of pressure and expectations pretty much throughout my life and from all of the people that I have been around. I am proud of myself to have gotten here and finished a championship decathlon, and to be 11th in the world in this event is just awesome. I know a lot of things could have gone better, probably for a lot of people, and I didn’t have one of those outstanding days with a lot of PB’s and stuff, but once again I’m happy about that.”



On his lack of sleep...


“I have no idea. I got an AirBnB that was close so I wasn’t caught up taking time for transportation and stuff like that. Not that it’s bad or anything, I thought that I would kind of out-smart it because in previous championships it’s just tough to get back, get treatment and go to sleep. I don’t know, I was on a soft mattress, hard mattress, I was going between the two and I don’t know. You’re always also worried about, ‘Ok I’ll probably have to wake up at 6, so that means that I will be able to get sleep for the next six hours. I better be able to wake up on time so I’m not late to get to where I need to be.”



On Ashton Eaton being a role model...


“We overlapped in college when I was at the University of Washington and he was at the University of Oregon, so to see his potential climb and climb and climb... I’ve always known he would be able to set Olympic records and World records, so just to see him still maintain such great character and how he handles all of the pressure. I know me being in 11th place and being the new generation of Olympians, I know the pressure growing up, but to see what he has done and how he handles himself  when things that don’t go that well in the meet itself or if you have a lot of expectations. Like, ‘you need to break this Olympic record, you have everything else. This is the time to cap it off.’ Just to see how he handles himself is amazing, and he’s still just a wonderful, kind, humble guy. You watch him compete and he’s always rooting for everyone else.”



“Just to see a person of that character be at that high of a level of performance and be the the best athlete of all time is awesome. You get to see top celebrities, and basketball players and football players in not great social circumstances, but he’s never been one of those and he’s always been a role model off of the track.”



On whether competitors believe they can beat Ashton Eaton coming into the Olympics...


“I’ve seen that in a lot of competitors minds, going into a decathlon or heptathlon, one where Ashton is present. For me personally, I always go in and I don’t know if I got this from my father, but I’m going in to break the world record. So that’s where my ceiling is right now, and it’s the standard that I am competing against. It’s more personal and inwards, and everything else outside of that, they’re going to do what they’re going to do. I’m going to be happy for them for when they do achieve their bests. It’s hard to do in the decathlon, you don’t know if you’re working your strengths or weaknesses the amount of time that they should be worked. Personally, I love when people always want to do the best of their abilities, but also when they think they’re the best of all time. So that’s how you have to think no matter what your endeavor is. Become good at something, become great at it, and master it. Anyone else that’s vying for that they’re going to do all their best, but really it’s up to you.”



Zach Ziemek


“I was just trying to feel my legs again. I was hurting after that. But to see the scoreboard, I came in 7th, very close to my personal best it was awesome.”



On the Olympic experience...


“It was great. To come into the Olympic Village and have the United States treated so well, and being at the games here, competing with Ashton [Eaton] and Jeremy [Taiwo]. Ashton won gold, it was just a huge experience and hopefully I can learn from that.”



On the words exchanged with Ashton Eaton...


“I said, ‘congrats Ashton, I love you and you have been a role model to me every since I started.’ He just said thank you so much, and we just hugged.”



On his sights for the next Olympics...


“I have my eyes focused on the world Championships next year, and the US Trials. So I’m going to take a little rest and then get back at it in a couple of months.”



On contesting for gold at the 2020 Olympics...


“I am going to put all of my efforts into that, yes.”



On his training schedule coming up...


“I am going to train in Madison, and be the volunteer coach with the Badgers.”



On his plans in Rio...


“My family is here, my sister and my girlfriend and my friends are here. So it will be nice to be able to hang out with them for a while when the closing ceremony is up on the 21st.”



On the difficulty of the decathlon...


“I’ve played basketball, baseball, all of those sports my entire life, but this is the hardest mentally and physically.”



Men’s shot put final


Ryan Crouser, gold medalist


“The atmosphere on the field was phenomenal, it was electric and once I got in the ring everything was really coming together. It’s been a long road, and to get here and have everything to go essentially perfectly, words can’t describe how I feel right now.”



On the success running in the family...


“I do, my dad was an alternate on the 1984 Olympic team, my uncle was in 1988 and 1992, and my cousin Sam [Crouser] is my roommate down here, so it’s definitely a family affair and they were all standing in the stands behind the shot put and were all wearing team Crouser uniforms. It was pretty cool to be able to do that in the Olympics.”



On preparing for the Olympics...


“It’s been a great preparation. I came down here early, some guys decided to come in late. I came in early and did opening ceremonies. This was my first Olympics so I wanted the full Olympic experience. It worked out well and practice couldn’t have gone any better. The USATF and USOC has been doing a great job giving us the opportunity to train not only in the US but also down here so I owe a lot to them.”



On throwing early in the series...


“I like being early in the series, I was the first thrower up. The first one was kind of nerves, just get one out there, and the second throw I had a mark that qualify for the finals and I just got after it. From then on the whole series was special.”



On fellow Texas Longhorn Michelle Carter’s success...


“Definitely a first for the [Texas] Longhorns to come out and win two Olympic golds and two Olympic records. It’s really something special, and if you had wrote it out as a script I wouldn’t have believed it. So I’ve seen Michelle [Carter] around, and she was a little bit before my time when I was on the college team , but I’ve definitely seen her around and she’s another great thrower and fellow Longhorn.”



Joe Kovacs, silver medalist


“You’re never happy to get second. It’s a bittersweet feeling, but it’s setting in on this walk down that I’m still bringing a silver medal to the US, and the gold is coming to Ryan [Crouser]. Ryan had some great throws today and I have to congratulate him on that. He put it together, and I know I had that bigger throw in me. It didn’t come out today, but we will be back here.”



On Ryan Crouser’s performance for the gold...


“Maybe for you guys it’s a surprise, but he’s been training at Chula Vista [the US Olympic Training Center] the past couple of months, where I train. He’s been training really well, so I wasn’t surprised by it. I thought I could kind of jump him with my experience, but he kind of pulled off a great series. So I have to take my hat off to him.”



“I think he came in here and executed his plan. I’ve been seeing him train this whole time and he has been very methodical in his training. He has form, he has always been a good thrower since high school. What he did in high school, I’m barely 6-foot, Im 5’11” and he’s been having these long levers and these long throws. He broke the national high school record. So it’s not like he was a suprise by any means, and his resume before this was even better. But a lot of people counted him out, but I got to see him train everyday. I thought he just executed perfectly. His dad was working with him, his dad is his coach and i think he did a great job today.”



On continuing the strong American tradition in the shot put...


“Absolutely. It feels good. We always talk that we go to all of these Diamond League meets and we say we have the top 6 and top 10 in the world but sometimes we have to show it, and we showed it today. I don’t think Darrell Hill, who just missed the qualifier this morning, it’s just experience, because he could be on that podium too. The depth in the US shotput is strong, and we will definitely be back.”



On being coached by his mother growing up...


“I started in high school with throwing without a toeboard, I started throwing in the parking lot rather than the shot put [circle]. It was just a way to stay in shape for American football. So I was able to look into the stands at her, she was my first coach, she was the one that just told me to put my elbow up and push the ball flat. And she’s in the stands next to my current coach Art Venegas, who has brought me to this point. Its an awesome moment that we can share together.”



“She knew a little bit about it, because she coached basketball and field hockey and knew a little bit about the shot put. She really just had to grow with me. We found a good club coach in Glenn Thompson who kind of taught us the rotation. So she would go with me to practices on Sunday, listen to everything and the whole week I would do whatever she said, and I’d keep listening.”



On remembering his father and the support from his family...


“I definitely remember my dad, and everyone in my family who has passed before. Going into a competition like this, I had 14 family members here, so you take a breath and you see all of the support. I’m not going to say it’s hard to stay in the zone, but shot put is an emotional sport, you can’t be happy with throwing the ball. You gotta be in the zone, you have to be intense, but you have to keep a soft spot when you see your family and all of the support. It’s an amazing feeling and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”



On learning to throw without supplies...


“We didn’t have much, we had broken dumbbells. We were a very small catholic school, so we didn’t have any toeboard, we didn’t have any track, whatever kind of looked like a ball and we know was heavy, that’s what we started with. Eventually, it turned into a shot put or a discus, but once the discus started skipping through the road we had to start sneaking to other schools.”



On contesting one his fouled throw...


“I know it was close, I clipped the heel. I think I saw the video and I probably fouled. It was 22.35 they said. So it wouldn’t have stood up to Ryan’s best throw, but I think it would have shook him up a bit. Any throw that’s close like that, you have to try to get it. This is the Olympics so any edge you can get you have to take.



On what he saw from Ryan while training in Chula Vista...


“I saw consistency. To me I like seeing big Sam throws. I’m a smaller guy, so when I watch him throw, he’s got these long levers so it looks slow and pretty to me. And i’m just over there wired really quick and going the same distance, so I knew he was set up because his positions were on. I got to see that for the past couple of months.”



Men’s 1,500m semi-final


Matt Centrowitz


“It was good, pretty controlled for the most part. Happy to stay out of trouble really. Throughout these Olympic Games I’ve just been seeing a lot of tripping and falling and petitioning and all that stuff, and at the Trials as well, so definitely puts it in the back of your head making sure to stay on both feet so none of that happens to you.



On how he feels going into finals...


I’m feeling a little better every round, it’s how I like to go into these championships just feeling it out. I always save my best race to last.”  



Robby Andrews


“I stayed in when I  should have went out and I qualified out. I asked if there was a flag and they said that there wasn’t. I got a little cut up, and I need to get cleaned up. But I’m feeling good.”



On being bumped off the course of the track...


“I would have tripped him if I tried to go outside, and I just stayed inside and he bumped me off of the track. I don’t think it will be any issue.”



On his condition during the race...


“I felt good, I should have stayed outside with 200 to go. I was running wide the whole race, and it’s a stupid mistake. But I felt great and I closed well.”



Ben Blankenship


“I kind of executed my plan, and I just wanted to stay patient as long as I could and be in control of my body and just kind of wind it up and it went well. It worked.”



“Somebody kept clipping on my heals, and I thought, ‘Ok I just have to stay in front.’ It would be hard for everyone to go wide. I saw Asbel Kiprop there and I thought if I could just hold on with him we would get through.”



“He moved outside, and it was just an open lane right there, might as well take it.”



On whether he accelerated when Kiprop went wide...


“Yea I just thought that this is it. If I let it close back up it will be over.”



On the jostling on the last lap…


“Yea somebody kept running up, I mean if you put 13 people jogging in a race what are you going to do.”



On the effort in the semi-final round...


“I love to go out and hurt. Anytime I can get a good hurt effort in I feel pretty good. So coming into it I should be alright.”



On his focus going into the race...


“I just wanted to make sure that I did everything that I could and not worry about anybody else. Today it worked.”



On being in the front of the pack...


“I’m a strong guy, so leading, I’ve never really feared for being in the front.”



On his goals for the final...


“To have fun. Everything else has been really stressful. So hopefully coming into the final I can have some fun.”



Women’s 800m semi-final


Ajee Wilson


“I got out, I was in good position, last phase of the race i didn’t stick with it like I should have when [Margaret] Wambui came up on the outside and I wasn’t able to close in that last 100 or so.”



On whether she stayed to watch the second heat...


“I did. Kate [Grace] got in, I am really happy for her, and she’s going to represent us well in the final.”



On whether she would have done anything differently...


“Placed top two, that would have been nice.”



On whether fatigue set in...


“I’m not really sure, when I finished I wasn’t dead tired, so I’m not really sure on what happened.”



On whether there was any jostling on the last lap...


“I don’t remember. I got spiked at some point, but I’m not sure if it was then or at another point. I don’t think I really noticed.”



On her goal to meet the automatic qualifier...


“Our first goal is to always get the secure spot. We don’t want to rely on time. The goal was always to place top two, and just hope that if I didn’t the time would be enough, and today it wasn’t.”



Kate Grace


“I knew I would have to PR to make the final based on past times and strength of the field. But I went in knowing that was possible, I PR’ed a few weeks ago at the Trials. In the race, Drew and I discussed that I have been leaving my races to the last 100 meters, and you can’t do that in international competition because everyone is too fast. His whole thing is, ‘your strength is your strength, you have to start going at 300, make a move early and put some cards on the table.’ But with 300 to go I realized I was boxed in, so I made the decision to go way wider on thsi girl, which was a little bit costly on my momentum. It was good to get out and I felt strong finishing. I’m glad I was able to get that spot.”



On looking forward to the final….


“I’m looking forward to it. Again, I’m looking forward to another PR chance.There are things that I can work on, and these easy tactical things probably could take a few seconds off with those, or milliseconds. Seconds would be awesome. So yea, I’m just looking forward to what I can do.”



On the excitement surrounding Team USA and distance events...


“It has been awesome. This is my first Team USA. I mean I went to the Bahamas with the relay team, but I loved competing in college with a team. There’s this energy that just starts growing. Clayton [Murphy] and Emma [Coburn]. Emma’s whole thing with ‘I believe in miracles is great.’ I was thinking last night, one of my mantras is, ‘if you believe in yourself then you will make that move in the middle of the race.’ So that’s my thing on the line, it’s great seeing other people acting out what I want to be doing.”



Women’s 4x100m relay re-run*


Morolake Akinosun


“Honestly I felt like it was just like a glorified practice. We just had fun out there. We were laughing and joking going in, just staying light and that was the whole point. We already knew we were going to execute the first time, it's just that we had an unforeseen circumstance. Now we have to do the same thing, the same plan that we had the first time, just get out there and actually execute it.”



On having to run in an outside lane...


“I was talking to my dad about it. And we are all running on a separate leg. So it’s not like a 400 where you have to run in lane the whole time, or run in lane 1 the whole time. We’re just going to go out there and perform and run the time that we know we can run, and we will be perfectly fine.”



On the road to the Olympics...


“It’s not what I expected at all. But I’m grateful for the opportunity to be here, I thank God that I’m here. I’m really glad that the team was able to pull through tonight and execute our race like I knew we could and make it to the finals.”



Allyson Felix


“It was different, it was really weird. But we walked out and people were cheering for us. I think it uplifted us a little bit and encouraged us. I think we are just grateful.”



On the handoff exchange...


“I’m probably the least person who would ever want to be involved in anything like this. I think I was stunned and shocked. I’ve never been in anything like that.”



On the split-second decision to pick up the baton and keep going...


“Everything was happening really, really quickly and I don’t know, when I saw it there I knew what had happened so I knew that’s not how it goes. I just knew that you have to finish in order to have a good shot at the appeal.”



“In my opinion I think that it was fair. I think that anyone who is impeded, I think that the process was fair.”



English Gardner


“I think it was easy. We went out there, and before we came out our coach said, ‘it was just like a practice, just the whole world was watching.’ We just had to do everything we have been doing during camp and everything we were doing in the back, and just stay patient with each other, trust each other and get out there and run your job.”



On running alone in the run-off...


“I feel like we ran pretty fast by ourselves, so I don’t think anything was missing. We went out there and ran one of the fastest qualifiers, so if another team was in the same position and ran the fastest qualifier, I think they deserve to be there. We got a good opportunity and we seized it.”



“Tianna [Bartoletta] said before we went out there that we are by ourselves and they gave us a second chance and let’s take full advantage of it. So we just went out there and made sure that we got the stick, and when we got the stick we ran our butt off.”



“Honestly at this level you are used to some of that stuff. But it was easier, in my opinion, to see our runner’s hand and get the baton off and get safe exchanges. It was a lot more comfortable.”



On China not making the final...


“I wish them the best of luck, it’s unfortunate what happened. I wish that it didn’t happen this way, and that we were able to basically all compete, because we all worked so hard to be here and those girls worked hard to run the relay and they missed out on the opportunity. So my heart is heavy for them, but the protest ruled that we were able to run off and we got the opportunity and we seized it.”



On the reception from the fans when they came out to the track...


“We knocked a team out and we disqualified another, technically their actions disqualified them. It was interesting. I remember we were walking out and we got the cheers and I looked to Allyson [Felix] and said, ‘I wasn’t expecting that.’ It was fun, it was really exciting. We had fun, we went out there and ran fast and we ran fast with noone around us, and without Tori Bowie, so it’s definitely going to be a fun show tomorrow.”



“When the crowd cheers, it helps us runners run. So we got out there and we got the job done and we appreciate all of the love and support.”



On lane preference in the final...


“I’m happy to break stagger, so I don’t have a preference. I just hope that I get to run and put on a show with the third leg and do my job and bring it home to my anchor.”



MORNING SESSION



Men’s 400m hurdles final


Kerron Clement, gold medalist


“I just thank God for the victory, first and foremost. I came out here with one mindset and that is to execute my race plan and trust my fitness and just believe in myself. I knew the last 100 meters would be tough, and those guys would be coming. The last 50 meters, honestly I thought about taking my legs and I thought about diving. But I dug down deeper to get that win, and to get my first individual gold medal. It is a surreal feeling and it was  great honor for my mom to give me the [American] flag to run around the stadium. I’m glad that she’s here to witness this history.”



“After the last hurdle I knew that I had the fastest speed out of anyone in the field. I knew without a doubt that no one can sprint me down in the last 50 meters. But I knew that I was just sprinting for my life, and I came out with a win. When I crossed the line I knew I had it. I got on my knees and i was just thanking God, and of course I was exhausted. I couldn’t move for a while but I’m just really happy.”



On importance that his mom gave him the American flag for the victory lap...


“Before we left the states, I told her to bring the flag, because I knew I was going to win. I had a space in my cabinet at home where I have all of my medals, and the space in the cabinet said ‘gold medal 2016.’ So I knew I was coming here to win a gold medal, I just had to believe in myself and trust my fitness. I just came out here with one mindset to get that gold medal, and nothing was going to stop me.”



“She just smiled and I knew that she was excited. I love to see my mom smile and I’m sure she’s going to cry when she sees me on the podium tonight. And I’m sure I’m going to cry.”



On his confidence that he was going to win a gold medal...


“I trust god, that’s number one. I knew that I believe in myself and once I set my mind to something, i’m going to get it regardless. That space at home that I made before I came here, I knew I was going to get that gold medal, and I was sticking to my plan. Nothing was going to stop me from achieving that.”



On the space in his cabinet designated for his gold medal...


“It was on a piece of paper, I wrote it in January of 2016. I knew that I was coming here to get a gold medal, I had one plan for the entire season. To get the gold medal in Rio, and I did that. I’m going to go and run in a few Diamond League meets in Paris and Zurich to win the Diamond League and finish my fairytale season.”



On how his age has pushed him to be a gold medalist...


“I really think as I’m older I became wiser in the hurdles. I became wiser and I think when I was younger I used to run and make silly mistakes. Now I’m more wise, I’ve had two amazing coaches in my career with Bob Kersee and Michael Holloway. Just learning the hurdles and learning my technique in my 30’s really helped me throughout my career.”



On injuries and taking a break from track and field...


“When I had my surgeries and my injuries, I just kept believing in myself and I just kept believing that each year would get better. When I had my lows and stuff in 2013 I took a break because mentally, I was depleted. I just needed a break from the sport. I just stayed away from the sport and went on vacation. I just hit the refocus button and I came out in 2015 and now with a different attitude and mindset.



“I went to the Dominican Republic with a few friends and my mentor and stuff, and I just needed to enjoy myself and take my mind off of track. I didn’t watch the US Championships and I didn’t study track, I told my friends I didn’t want to talk about track, I just wanted to focus on myself. The break started in 2013 after the World Championships I believe, and I took off into 2013. No hurdles, I just needed a break mentally. I was done.”



“When I came back, I found a new love for the hurdles. I was like, ‘oh my god I love the hurdles.” Because I hadn’t run the hurdles in a year. So now I found a new love for the sport again, and it’s just hitting the refocus button and loving it again and having a new mindset and new goals for the second chapter of my career, which is now.”



On whether he plans to compete in four years…


“Of course, I’ll be 33. I’m still young.”



Men’s shot put qualifying


Joe Kovacs


“These qualifiers come with way too much stress and tension, because when you are coming here going after the podium and going after the gold you still have to get through this morning. That’s what it’s all about. It didn’t matter about how far I threw, I just wanted to see that big Q and get out of there. I wish I did it on the first throw but having the family and the support there it’s amazing. But you also have to take a breath and make sure that I got the job done. It felt good to get that big Q, now it’s all about coming back in the final, because that’s what it’s all about.”



“Coming here having the world lead, it comes with pressure. But i love the pressure because I can put it right back into the ball. This morning isn’t pressure it’s tension, so I just have to learn to loosen up and make that ball go in the final.”



On Tomasz Majewski being a back-to-back gold medalist...


“He doesn’t have the big Q, but I still think that he will sneak in with that [mark of 20.56m]. Having a guy who has done it twice, you never know what someone is going to bring. A guy like him, he has done it twice, he brought it in back to back Olympics, you’ve gotta respect that, you’ve gotta respect everybody in the field. But at the same time if you bring your game, the game that I’ve been throwing at practice, the game that my coach has been coaching me for the past four years, there’s no question that I’m ready for the final.”



On competition looking ahead to the final...


“The other American, Ryan Crouser, he’s ready to put some throws out there. David Storl, he’s always ready. The power to go out and the consistency that he brings with it, you always gotta be ready for somebody to do that. But I think if I can put the distance together that I want to, it will separate myself from the pack and that’s the plan.”



“I’m going to go back to my hotel, sit in the air conditioning. This morning comes with a little bit more tension than anything. So now I can go back, grab a sandwich, take a breath, because I’m going to flip the switch for this afternoon. I wish I was a little bit more in the zone today, so I could get it [qualifying mark] on the first throw, but it’s all about winning and doing it when it counts.”



Ryan Crouser


“A simulation where warming up and the holding period between warm-ups and your first throw, so sitting down then a quick warm-up and taking one throw, that has been going pretty well. I felt well prepared for it and just like I simulated in practice. It couldn’t have gone any better.”



On his first throw experience in the Olympic…


“Just excited. I been here since the third and did opening ceremonies, so it seems like it been over two weeks but on Rio time it’s a lot longer. It seems like I’ve been watching everyone else compete for so long that I’ve been excited to just get out there. It’s nice to get out on the field and actually do something after watching everyone else do it.”



On what does he do after competition…


“I’ll go and get off my feet, grab something to eat. Hopefully, take a nap I’ve been up since 5:00. it’s already been a decently long day, with the check and process and with the buses and everything. It’s better to be prepared than rushing at the end. It has already been a process to get here this morning, so if I can get a couple hours sleep I think that will help, because I don’t throw until relevantly late.”



On being roommates with Sam Crouser…


“It has been pretty cool. it’s better than having a random roommate. We’ve been training together at the U.S. training facility. It’s been a lot of fun just having a guy here that I’ve grown up with. We used to train a fair amount in high school together but we’ve been at separate colleges. It was fun to reconnect with him and train with him again like we did back in high school.”



On travel plans after the Olympics…


“I go back on the 22nd. I’ll do a lot of flying in a day or two. four meets or so over in Europe and then I’ll go to Austin and then drive to Oregon. It’s going to be a lot of travel still on top of what I already have. It’s not too bad, still having fun.”



Darrell Hill


“Today wasn’t the day I was looking for. I had big expectations, I wanted to make the final with dreams of making the podium, but making the Olympic Games was a dream for me. Just like anything you get the wins and you celebrate those, so you look at this as a lost but it’s all about how you come back from it. I’m not upset, I’m just really happy to be here and taking in the experience.”



On the take away from the Olympic experience…


“I’m going to come back and watch the final and support my teammates Joe Kovacs, and Ryan Crouser as they chase after the medals this evening and really just soak up the vibes and see what it takes and see how everyone is moving and see how I can better improve myself for next time around. It’s all about learning anyways.”



On the changes he could’ve made to make the final…


“Being more aggressive. I went out and I wasn’t as aggressive as I should and that was something I changed earlier in the season. That is what kind of carried me to the next level was upping my aggression early and really just going after it. I was a little too tentative today and that backfired on me. I knew what I needed to do and I didn’t execute, so I just take it and learn from it.”



On father making it to the Olympics to watch him compete…


“Yes, he was out there. It wasn’t the performance I wanted him to see obviously, but I still appreciate everyone’s support and I appreciate my dad being here. It was such a blessing for him to be able to make this travel and for him to want to make this travel to come down and watch me compete. It meant the world to me, it was awesome.”



Women’s high jump qualifying


Vashti Cunningham


“It was not my best time competing but I made it through. I will be able to hopefully do better the next time.”


 


On her performance in the high jump event…


“After my opening, I missed the next height at my first attempted and the next height. It took me two attempts to make my last height of 1.94m/6-4.25.”


 


On the experience of being at the Olympics…


“It’s really nice, a good experience and something to just take in.”


 


On father Randall Cunningham encouragement at the games…


“Stay focus on what I’m doing and to not get sidetrack on what I’m doing, while I’m waiting for my competition day.



“It’s a lot of help. Even out there today, I was mentally struggling but he was telling me ‘oh I’ve been here, you can do this’ and pushing me through.”


 


On the relationship with Chaunte Lowe…


“She is a good mentor for me. I’ve watched her growing up and I still watch her now. She is someone to watch out of the corner of your eye and keep track of her. She is amazing and we’ve a close relationship.”


 


On the activity she has done waiting to compete…


“I’ve been practicing a lot. I went to some of the houses. I went to the Nike house and I just been with my family a lot too.”


 


Chaunte Lowe


“It went really well. It felt easy. I was just a little nervous because I am operating off of two hours, so I’m hoping it gets better for the final but other than that it felt like my training came into play today.”


 


On not getting enough sleep…


“I was so excited. I had to wait so long to finally jump. With us being almost at the end of the Olympic Games, I was waiting, waiting and waiting. Once it was finally here, I was too excited to sleep. I was prepared for it this year. Not all competitions, just at the Olympic Games.”


 


On her relationship with Vashti Cunningham…


“It’s really exciting because for so many years I had to jump by kind of by myself, well for a couple of years then Brenetta came. Now having Vashti here, she is eighteen and her future is bright. I think this year,  she’s a good competitor, so I kind of have to keep a little bit of a distances but I think next year I be able to take her under my wing more. At the beginning of the year I was able to talk to her and give her advice but now I’m backing off just a little bit, because I have my own personal goals.”


 


On the mental preparation for the high jump final…


“I’m going to have to remember it’s an actual meet. I was out there to relaxed and it felt so much like practice. I kind of have to wake myself up and says ‘okay girl this is a competition and you want to win,’ so I really have to remind myself of that and come out and compete.”



Inika McPherson


“It felt great, I just took the advice from our team psychologist [Tracy], and she just said to treat it like any other meet and go out there and execute. So coach and I had a plan and that’s what we did.”



Women’s 4x100m relay qualifying


Allyson Felix


“I got bumped coming into the exchange zone. It just completely threw me off balance. I tried to hold it together to get it to English [Gardner]. Maybe, if I had one more step I could’ve but I was falling as I was going through.”


 


On the hand off not being competed…


“I just remembered them telling me, if there is an appeal that you have to make an effort. On my right side. I was just hit from the side and was thrown off. I got propelled.”



English Gardner


“We got bumped coming into the exchange zone. Definitely going to protest a move. We are going to regroup and get ourselves together and go out there and be ready to compete in the final.”



“If you think about it, we are going about 20 mph, so if a foreign object comes in front and throws off your momentum, that’s going to miss up a hand off.”



Men’s 4x100m relay qualifying


Mike Rodgers


“It’s just timing and trusting each other. Today we were very, very patient in the first round with safe passes. Tomorrow we are going to stretch it out a little bit, hopefully you guys will see something special.”



On what it will take to beat Jamaica and Usain Bolt...


“Just to get the stick around the track. We’ve been winning every year with the stick around the track and we haven’t made a mistake. So no mistakes, a good race, or tight at the line, or put enough room on Bolt so he can’t catch us like we did in the World Relays.”



On mentoring Chris Coleman...


“I had to mentor him all the way through the first round, I didn’t say that was my job, but he’s confident, he got the stick and did what he was supposed to do. He made a great pass to Tyson Gay, safe pass, and we got through. Tomorrow is going to be very exciting. We have a bright future, we have some guys that can get the stick around the track, two guys got experience today and I am happy.”



Tyson Gay


“I’ve been here for a while now, with not running the 100m, it makes the Olympics a lot longer than normal, but it felt good to get the stick around and we had a good time.”


On watching the women’s 4x100 relay, and focusing on qualifying...


“I felt sorry, but the first thing that I did was just [our team] that we got this. We have to be positive and think about what can happen. You just have to keep your composure and get the stick off.”



Chris Coleman


“It was the race of a lifetime. This is the highest stage you can be as a track athlete, and at such a young age I am extremely blessed, and hopefully I have the opportunity to continue to do better.”



On the atmosphere at Olympic Stadium...


“It was crazy. A huge crowd, so I just had to calm my nerves and get the job done.”



On getting the call that he made it to the Olympics...


“It was after Trials, I was actually in the hotel going back to Tennessee for college, and my coach called me and told me that they were going to bring me on for the relay pool, and I was just extremely excited. It was just a humbling experience and I am just happy to be here.”



“I’m only 20 years old, and being able to hang out with some of these guys that I look up to like Justin Gatlin and Tyson Gay, just being able to soak in some knowledge and everything has been a really great experience for me.”



Jarrion Lawson


“Of course we have been doing handoffs and practicing things just in case. So I got in there and had no problems. Tyson and my hand off was smooth. We’re both from Arkansas so he went to college at Arkansas, it’s a tradition kind of thing. Just come in here and breath, execute and have fun, and just get to that finish line and get to the next round.”



On having Tyson Gay as a mentor...


“I look up to Tyson, and he looks at me as his little brother. He knows I’m just coming in, and he’s going out. So he’s teaching me everything he can, and I’m definitely learning and taking it all in. It’s been a humbling experience for me.”



On the team chemistry of the 4x100m relay...


“We have been working on this since July 29th, just to come out here and finally be able to do it in competition it feels good.”

Comments