Posts tagged "Track & Field"

An unexpected day

While in London, I never expected to go to Olympic Park or the Main Press Center. That changed when I was told I was picked to receive a guest credential pass. I would tour the center and walk around Olympic Park.

I left the flat early in the morning to meet up with our contact, Peggy Manter, that was getting me in. On my way from one tube to the other, I ran into my first problem of the day — the tube I needed was down, so I had to take a train to Olympic Park. Sounds easy, but it wasn’t the case. I only knew where to go through the tube stations and the stops made on the above ground train are not the same. So, now, I am someone who does not know London very well trying to get to Olympic Park. It was very frustrating until I finally asked for help from the people who work for the trains.

I finally arrived at the proper station and got off the crowded train. I walked through the crowd of people, making my way to the area where I would get our guest passes. After about six minutes of battling traffic I got to the proper place.  I walked in and received my pass without any problems. I headed to security where I was told I could not go any further without an escort. I spent the next hour frantically trying to get a hold of Peggy. It was the most frustrating part of the whole trip because we had no WiFi outside Olympic Park. Whose idea was that? WiFi outside the park would have made too much sense. So, I had to keep returning to the crowded mall, which was a three or four minute walk, which I had to do almost 100 times. Peggy finally emails me and said she will not pick us up but someone named Nikki would.

Nikki finally showed up about 30 minutes later and took me through the park. She was my ticket to get through security. She walked us through the park, stopping and letting me take pictures of all the amazingly big complexes. I wanted to go inside all of them and watch what was going on. I arrived at the Media Center and was told I could go to a press conference being held.

Snapping a picture with Jorge Posada, former New York Yankees catcher

I knew there was one with Team USA Track & Field, but didn’t know if I could get in. Finally, I get in and I get a big rush as I realize I am a journalist covering the Olympic Games. It was an amazing feeling, making me for sure know this is the career field I want to get into. I sat and listened while other journalist shot questions at the Olympians. It was an amazing experience as I gathered material to write my own stories. The press conference is the best and most enjoyable thing I have been to this whole Olympics.

After the press conference we went to the official Olympic store. It was full of people trying to find the perfect gifts. I found a T-shirt for my younger sister and I got my younger brother, who is about to get his drivers license, an Olympic key chain. As we made our way through the mall, a fellow BSU at the Games student spotted a former New York Yankees catcher, Jorge Posada. I am a huge Yankee fan, so I was star struck. I wanted to go get a picture with him didn’t want to bother him. After thinking it over, I was convinced to go and talk to him because what was the worst we could do? Say no and then we just keep on our merry way? So I walked up to him and shook his hand as I said I am a huge Yankees fan and he was one of my favorites. I then asked for a picture and he said he would. When he said yes I could not stop smiling.

I felt like I was on top of the world.

So, what started out as a rough morning of delayed tubes and not knowing who was coming to get me, ended with a great story to share with people and a picture with one of my favorite athletes.

Charlie Akers  |  Sports Reporter


Hurdlers deal with conflicting mindsets

By Conor Hockett  |  BSU at the Games

At the Beijing Olympics, hurdler Dawn Harper was the self-proclaimed baby of the U.S. team at 24 years old. She was in her first Olympic Games and wasn’t followed by the flash of a camera or crazed Americans hoping for an autograph as she hung out with family and flew under the radar.

Then she ran the race.

In just 12.54 seconds, Harper managed to turn every head and lens her direction as she won a gold medal in the 100m hurdles.

Now 28 and at her second Olympic Games in London, Harper isn’t fooling anybody. The pressure of being a marked woman is finally catching up to her.

“It didn’t quite hit me until two days ago the real pressure that there was [on me],” Harper said. “Because you have to make the team, then, all the sudden, can you do it again? Now that it (the pressure) has hit me, I just try to think about things like, stay in your lane. Stay focused. I tell myself repeatedly, you’ve done the 100 hurdles a million times. The only thing that’s going to change is just how I see it.”

The women’s final is Tuesday, and Harper isn’t letting anyone into her mental zone. When a reporter questioned Harper about Sally Pearson, the Australian 2011 World Champion, she was quick to say everything is in her control.

“I know that my training is there and I know that I’m ready,” Harper said. “I refuse to go to this race and just not execute. That’s the only time I would be really disappointed in myself—if I let it (the moment) get to me.”

For fellow teammate and hurdler Jason Richardson, the moment is very similar to Harper’s in 2008.

Despite winning the 2011 World Outdoor gold medal, Richardson doesn’t have the pressure to perform draped over him like a wet blanket. He is calm and well spoken—relaxed enough to rattle of most of his iPod’s playlist at Tuesday’s press conference.

Richardson finished second in the Olympic Trials behind teammate Aries Merritt in the 110m hurdles. Merritt is the reigning US Indoor Champion and World Indoor Champion in the 60m hurdles. That means most of the tough questions and expectations fall off Richardson’s shoulders.

It is a role Richardson relishes. His 2011 world title was won under similar circumstances and, like Harper back in 2008, Richardson doesn’t see any reason why the Olympic crown can’t go to someone who’s face isn’t plastered on a billboard.

“For myself, I acknowledge and am completely in tune with reality that you have (in the race) a current world record holder, a former world record holder and another American (Merritt) who is about to tag 12.9 because he’s running so much,” Richardson said. “I’m again, much like last year, just the guy who’s going to come in here and try and pull off another upset. I definitely like it (the underdog role). It’s comfy, it’s familiar and it’s just another thing that will add to some great twitter content once the race is over.”

Conor Hockett is a junior journalism major at Ball State University covering sports for BSU at the Games. Follow Conor and the BSU team at @bsuatthegames and

Photo gallery: USA Track & Field Kids Day

Team USA Track & Field hosted a kids day in Birmingham, England last week. Thousands of primary school children came to try their hand at different sports and hang out with Olympic athletes like USA Track & Field’s Craig Kinsley (javelin), Lance Brooks (discus), Jarred Rome (discus) and Chantae McMillian (heptathlon). Look for our video feature and story coming soon.

Photos by Alex Kartman.


Daily Video: Jessica Hardy | USA Swimming

BSU at the Games daily video series featuring Team USA athletes.

Jessica Hardy – USA Swimming