USA Athlete Quotes - Olympics, Day 1

USA Athlete Quotes - Olympics, Day 1

Provided by USATF

Evening Session

Women’s 1500m qualifying

Brenda Martinez, (4:11.74Q)

I didn’t know what to expect, so I was just going to be mentally ready for if it was going to be a hot pace or a slow pace, if it was going to be tactical. It was a lot of cat and mouse. It felt like we were surging all over the place. I think that it was just about racing smart, but there’s nothing you can do, there was a lot of jostling. I’m happy to finish third, I’m happy with that, I feel like there’s more in the tank if I need it, so I’m happy with that.”

Jenny Simpson, (4:06.99Q)

“It went really well. It’s a first round. It was just business as usual. I just got out there. My little sister gave me a little note, a little gift before my first round today and it said, ‘to be brave is to move forward.’ So that was my thought tonight. Today is all about moving forward, whether there’s contact in the race or advancing to the next round. Everything in my mind pointed to that one goal, moving forward.

“I got boxed in a little bit. The main things that are going through my mind are, ‘are the people boxing me in going to advance, am I just going to follow? or are they people that might hold me back?’ I think I made the right calculation when I was in there and made the right moves and just staying in that group of five or six.”

Shannon Rowbury, (4:06.47Q)

“It was good. I was the third heat, so I had a sense of what the qualifiers were, My plan was to come through with the big Q and the rounds are an important part of the prep for the final. training‘s been going very well and we took our taper, I wanted to get a good effort in today to kind of rev up the system. Each round is going to get a little harder so I feel like this was a good first step in the process of the Olympics.”

Women’s hammer qualifying

Deanna Price (70.79m/232-3)

“Well this evening, I feel like (we) had a lot left in the tank. It’s just that you only have three throws. It’s a completely different environment, the energy is crazy. Getting out those nerves right away is definitely a vital point. I feel like we both got in there and threw what we could and we’re going to go after it again if we make it to the final.”

Gwen Berry (69.90m/229-4)

“I’m kind of frustrated. I should have done better. Fingers crossed. We’ll see what happens.”

Amber Campbell (71.09m/233-3)

“I was pretty happy with today. It was my first throw that got me through. I had a little trouble on the second and third ones, it wasn’t really what I planned to do, but I made it through to the final and that’s what’s most important.

Men’s 400m Heats

Gil Roberts (45.27, 2nd)

“I felt great. The first round is generally the toughest one. You never know what to expect, whether to go hard or go easy. You have to go as easy as you can, but still get a qualifier. You never know what everyone else is going to do. In a final, you know what to expect. Everyone is all out, you know what everyone is going to do. In prelims, some people go all out, some people are saving. It’s a judgement game. I have more in the tank, lots more. I got in relatively smooth, relatively easy, so i’m happy about that. I lived to see another day.”

Lashawn Merritt (45.28, 1st)

“Not too much energy put out. (It’s a) great track, it’s a nice atmosphere. I feel good. I’ve got a lot of races to run. The plan is to just take it a race at a time and get to the final and lay it all out in the final.

“It’s definitely one of the top events right now. We’re running well. There’s some men out there running, I’m just excited to be a part of it, to be a part of a great event, during a great era. We’ll probably run fast come this final.

“Eight men will line up in the final. I say this every final. You never know what will happen in the Olympic games, people step up. I’m expecting it to be a fast final. Top people will run well and get the three medals and I hope to be on the top of that podium.”

David Verburg (45.48 - 4th)

“I didn’t execute at all, it was just a bad race. I didn’t get out like I should. I tried to pick it up. If you don’t execute in the 400, you’re not going to do well.”

Men’s Long Jump Qualification

Jeff Henderson (8.20 auto-qualifier)

The event went well. I got out on the first jump and got the qualifying mark out of the way, so that was good. Just have to get ready for tomorrow.

Jarrion Lawson (7.99m/26-2.75, 7th)

“Everything went as planned. I came out on the first jump. I think everything was good, I just backed off a little bit, I was glad to get that one in. I am glad to make it to my first Olympic final.”

Mike Hartfield (7.66m/25-1.75, 25th)

“My jumps felt way better than what the marks were saying. To come all the way to the Olympics and have  day like that is a tough pill to swallow. It’s back to the drawing boards I guess.”

Women’s Heptathlon, Day 1

Heather Miller Koch (3,630, 19th)

“I was just trying to stay solid through. The hurdle race was decent, high jump was very good. Shot, I had some good warm ups, but just couldn’t find one in the competition. That race, the 200 wasn’t very good. I just didn’t execute. That’s what the heptathlon is all about. I’ve got another day tomorrow.

Barbara Nwaba (3,777, 11th)

The day was okay. I had a couple of ups and downs. Hurdles I was just really happy to finish that race. We had two false starts, and one that was mine. I was totally freaking out. Everything went well, got through the line and just continued on with the day. High Jump went okay, I hit 1.83 which is a decent day for me, but I expect so much more from myself. I went to the shot put after our morning break. I got an outdoor best which I’m really stoked about that and just used that energy into the 200. The 200 was okay, but I finished the day as strong as I possibly could. I’m really enjoying my time here, I can do better.  I’m really looking forward to that javelin. I really know i have a big one left in me and hopefully will get out this last meet of the season.”

Kendell Williams (3,715, 14th)

“Today’s been a little bit rough, I didn’t put out the marks that I was hoping to, at the Olympics, the last meet of the season. I’m looking forward to tomorrow, it’s kind of a fresh start. I’m excited about the long jump, to see how it goes. It’s my best event on day 2, so I’m really excited to see what kind of numbers I can put out tomorrow. Today’s been good. The experience has been so good competing against the greatest heptathletes in the world. It’s a great learning experience and I’m enjoying my first Olympics so far.”

Women’s 100m heats

Tianna Bartoletta (11.23, 1)

“Today felt like the first race in a while. It was solidly executed, but not as fast and I wasn’t firing as much as I’d like to. That typically happens to me after my legs have been under a load. Tomorrow will be better.”

English Gardner (11.09, 1)

"When you have five girls who can run 10.7 and better, it's gonna be a good race. I definitely foresee a fast time in this final. If I could take a wild guess, I'd say someone's going to run 10.6 - hopefully it's me. I have one job and that's to stop the clock, and not let no other girl do it before me."

Women’s Shot Put final

Michelle Carter (20.63m/67-8.25, 1) On preparing herself for her final throw: “All I could do was just pray in that moment and think, ‘You know what Michelle, you have to give it your all, this is it.’ I just asked the Lord... I just want to give it my all, leave nothing behind, and I was able to do that today.”

On whether she got nervous:

“I wasn't nervous because at the end of the day, I was able to bring all that energy to the middle and just focus on what I needed to do because if I get nervous, then I'm wasting my energy. I've been to three Olympics so, I hope I've learned something along the way. I was trying to pull from my experiences and just give it my all on my last throw.”

On competing against defending gold medalist Valerie Adams:

“Yes I have [competed against Valerie] before but, that's not my focus. My focus is always to just do my best and I think that our competition always brings out the best in all of us.”

On her father, three-time Super Bowl Champion and Olympic medalist, Michael Carter:

“He just told me, ‘Great job, congratulations.’ I haven't really had a chance to talk to him just yet but I know he is proud and happy, along with my whole family - my mom, everybody back at home. I'm just grateful that I had this moment.”

Morning Session

Men’s discus qualifying

Andrew Evans (61.87m/203-0) We were hoping the rain would hold off….we had our warmup throws without any rain, then you start the competition and here comes the rain. Psychologically, keeps you down a little bit. I made decent moves in the ring and I’m happy with those. Just a few small degrees of change and I could have seen a lot farther throws. 61.87, I’ll take it and hope that the second flight doesn’t go farther than that.

Tavis Bailey (59.81m/196-2) “It wasn’t the performance I was looking for, I felt good coming into today and I thought I had a big throw in me and I still feel like I do, but I just couldn’t put one together out there today.”

“I felt good about my build up and everything leading up to this point, I wouldn’t change anything about it, but I wish I could have had a better performance with everyone supporting me.”

Mason Finley (63.68m/208-11) On morning session: “I came in had a really great warm-up. I got in the stadium and immediately was blown away by how many people were in the stands and how loud it was, it was incredible.

“It was my first throw and I couldn’t really focus and I made a lot of technical mistakes. My second [throw] I was a little bit nervous but it started to go away and it went farther. On my last [throw] I thought they took only nine to the finals, but they took twelve. I was sitting in twelfth but I thought I had to get ninth, so I did what I could out the back to be as good as I can and I just crushed it. It probably wasn’t the best reverse, but it got the job done and I’m really excited to compete tomorrow.”

Women’s Shot Put qualifying

Raven Saunders (18.83m/61-9.5Q) On first round performance: “First throw was alright, but not what I wanted it turned out to be a foul, the second [throw] I was able to get everything together and go for it.”

On goals into the finals:

“I really hope to get some big throws, get a PR and whatever happens, happens. Anything can happen really.”

On competing against Michelle Carter:

“Michelle is a three-time Olympian now, having that type of experience on a team gives me confidence to go in there. We’re both in the finals and we are really happy about it.”

Michelle Carter (19.01m/62-4.5Q) On first round performance: “I felt great today, on my first throw I was a little cautious. I was able to pull it all together and go out there a bit more on my second throw, so I made it to the finals, and I’m ready.”

On rainy conditions:

“With the rain you are always a little more cautious, but at the end of the day you have to get the job done, and that’s what I was able to do.”

“The ring is always going to be 7’2”, my shot put is always and my shot put is always going to weigh 4 kilos, and that’s never going to change, so I just go out there and do what I know to do.”

Felisha Johnson (17.69m/58-0.5-dnq) On the experience of morning session:

“Not the best day but a good experience. I have one more meet after this so I’m not done for the season, but I would have liked to have made it to the finals, so that we could have all three American women in there but it’s still a good day.”

Men’s 800m Heats

Boris Berian (1-1:45.87Q-3rd) On first round performance: “It was expected, Coach was telling me to run my race and to take it out, don’t play any games just go. It was good to get one race out of the way.”

Clayton Murphy (3-1:46.18-4th) On first round performance:

“First Olympic Games race so it was interesting. There was some pushing and shoving but I was fourth, it’s never good to be fourth in the prelims, so at this point it’s is just a waiting game.”


On the fast heat:

“Someone told me that the first two heats I was okay on, so I just watched the fourth heat and it looks like I was okay. They just went through 1:56 so I’m okay there. so now just two more heats. I feel like it is taking forever to watch this go through but I’m not where I wanted to be on the first day.”


On the feeling of the Olympics versus other meets:

“I had world championships, Pan Am, NACAC but this is totally different from transportation to the logistics before the race, the warm-ups. Everything was just ten-times magnified here and there are ten-times as many people watching you, it makes it a completely different experience. Today’s for sure I was getting my feet wet. Hopefully, I have confidence in tomorrow and it was a great first experience. I don’t think I did anything wrong, I was just fourth and didn’t get third.”

Charles Jock (4-1:47.06-6th) “I wasn’t in a good position, I raced like an amateur. I went out there sitting in sixth, and I should have been sitting closer to second or third. When it came time to kick I just wasn’t in good position. My kick was alright, I just didn’t put myself in a good position to kick from.”

“It’s rainy, but it’s not cold and there’s no wind at the stadium, so everything was alright. I just didn’t race like I should have.

Women’s 10,000m

Emily Infeld (31:26.94) On outcome of the race: “I wish I would’ve ran a little better, but it’s alright it’s my first games and I’m just excited to be here and experience it. I’m so happy for Molly. That’s is incredible. She ran great and I think that she will do a lot of that alone. I wish I could’ve ran a little better and I’m just happy to be here.”


On the pace of race:

“I wished when I was getting lap that I would have latched onto that group and tried to hang on, it would’ve helped me run a little quicker, but just a learning process and I talked to my coach and see his thoughts. I’m excited to be here and lots to work on, but not super happy with my performance.”

Marielle Hall (32:39.32) On the outcome of the race: “It was a tough one, I would have loved to get a personal best our here today, I knew that it was going to be a tough effort. It took a world record and personal records to medal.”

“I am just so happy for Molly, an American record on this day, that’s really special. I tried my best, not exactly the result that I would have loved, but I put my best honest effort out there so that’s all that I could ask for.”

Molly Huddle (30:13.17) On pace of the field: “I knew the race would be hard from the gun, running against 30:00 women, I knew I couldn’t just hope to hang with them, so I just had to hang as long as I could, and if it got to be too much i’d maintain my best pace.”

On setting a new American record:

“[Setting] the American record is amazing. I feel really satisfied at least to run that fast of a 10k. Coming in, I said 30:20 shape is what you would need [for a medal] and you needed faster.”

Susan Hazzard