Who has been your biggest motivator in your career?
I have two types of motivators: the positive motivator is my husband who is also my coach. He is the one that is telling me that I can do more than I ever thought I could do. He has pushed me beyond what I thought was possible to achieve things I was afraid to dream of. The second types of motivators are the negative ones: initially I was trying to prove to the haters that I could succeed in pole vault having started so late in life and now I want to prove to the haters you can pole vault competitively so late in life.
Share with us your HIIT home workout that works great for an athlete’s body? 5 stretches that must be done before your final performance.
Before I am going to put in a hard jump day I start from the ankles up in stretching. The biggest muscle groups I like to have warmed up are my quads, hamstrings, and shoulders. I incorporate stretching with my warm up and that helps me feel like I am being active and making sure each muscle group is going through the full range of motion before I load them.
In the 2016 Summer Olympics, you suffered severe illness prior to the competition, and finished in seventh place, below initial expectations. From your own experience, what advice would you give to others to deal with such situations?
In 2016, I learned a lot. Initially in the passing months I was not able to deal with it. I couldn’t talk about it without crying so I didn’t talk about it. I had so many emotions going on I didn’t even know where or how to deal with them. I was embarrassed, I was devastated, I was angry, I was confused. It really took me awhile to come out of this because once you start down that depression road navigating back is tricky. I had a lot to process and I had to learn how to fall in love with the event again. I knew it had to take on a different look than what it was. I had to continue to pole vault for me. When I won Gold at the Olympics in 2012, my phone never stopped ringing. I had text messages, voicemails, and emails for weeks from people that I was affiliated with through Track and Field contacting me, telling me how proud they are, and encouraging me. After Rio in 2016, I had one person, ONE PERSON that I was affiliated with in Track and Field reach out to me. I learned really quick that people are there for the successful moments but when hard times hit and they have nothing to gain, they have already jumped on someone else’s bandwagon. For me, this hurt my heart because I learned a lesson of fair weather friends. I would never wish to be that sick again and during the Olympic Games nonetheless, but I learned so much about myself, a lot about other people, but most importantly, I learned how to rebuild myself mentally and emotional stronger than I was before.
The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.