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Athlete Quotes - Olympics, Day 4

8/15/2016
 

Evening Session

 

Women’s 400 meters

Allyson Felix

On how she feels...

“Disappointment. It’s been a tough one. I was really hoping that it would come together tonight, but it just wasn’t there. I just tried to dig deep and give all I have. I don’t feel like I had anything left to give.”

 

On if she thinks she fully had her fitness back after suffering a severe ankle injury in April...

“I think so. I have to look back at the race. I should have been a bit more aggressive and might have let it get a bit away from me. … I just feel emotionally and physically drained at this point.”

 

“I don’t think I’ve quite had a year this tough. I just really wanted it. I’m a competitor, and I went for it. It’s just painful.”

 

Natasha Hastings

“I ran my usual race plan. I got out strong, I maintained well down the backstretch and just tried to finish up strong. Unfortunately all the gas just wasn’t there today, but I have to be pleased with the effort. Heartbreaking to come in fourth of all places, but I got to compete on a level that I’ve always wanted to compete at, individually, and I’m grateful for the experience.

 

On Miller diving at the finish...

“I dove twice this year. I dove for my spot here, on the U.S. team, and I did take a tumble at Indoor Nationals as well. You do what you’ve gotta do to get across the line sometimes.”

 

Phyllis Francis

“I’m really grateful and I appreciate the fact that I am doing what I do now. Anything can happen but don’t give up and just believe in yourself. That was amazing.”

 

If she has ever dove at the end of a race...

“No, but maybe I should try that. I saw it on the TV because I was looking up. It works. Look, she won. It was amazing. It’s dramatic, but that’s what we want to get the fans tuned it. I told her good job.”

 

Men’s 800 meters

Clayton Murphy, bronze medal

"It's hard not to be happy. I didn't go into the race caring about time; I was racing the people. I told my coach that I didn't care what I went out in. I was going to go out there and I got to the rail early like I wanted to, stayed there and kept hanging there. I was just racing the people."

 

"When I came around the corner, I saw three guys in front of me. I kept wanting to push. At that point, I knew I was top 5 and that was exciting. I kept turning over and turning over and my legs were there. When I saw I could get bronze, I just kept pushing. I wasn't sure if I could get silver or not, but I was super excited to have that little last gear the last 50 meters."

 

Boris Berian

“I guess I’m still inexperienced with rounds. It’s the Olympic finals, it’s the Olympics, so it’s not going to be easy. I’m an Olympian, I forever will be.”

 

On the pace...

“It’s the world’s best, it’s the top 800-meter runners in the Olympics. The world record holder is out there. It kind of caught me off guard, but I was like I have to deal with it, I have to go.”

 

Men’s Pole Vault Final

Sam Kendricks

"I know that the Olympics is like a high tide, it raises all boats and it brings the best out of all of us. I was so happy to watch my friend Thiago [Braz] set his personal best in his home country in front of his home crowd, and I think that I thrived off of that as well.”

 

“I did not set a personal best but I attempted it. I missed it very close three times so, I cannot be ashamed of my effort. I'm very proud of my bronze medal, what me and my coach and my family have achieved. This particular competition was a lot of fun for me - I knew all of the competitors by name, they're all good friends of mine. We've traveled together and have competed together many times. We even trade victories very often."

 

Men’s 110m Hurdles Prelims

Jeff Porter

“I feel pretty good. The race, particularly the first half, definitely went really well. I started to rush toward the tail end, so I definitely need to clean that up for the semi finals. I’m happy with the shape I’m in, I’m happy with the opportunity, and I’m happy to go to the next round.”

 

On if the rain was a factor...

“Since my disappointment in London four years ago, I’ve run in every kind of conditions you can imagine. Rain for me is a non-factor. It’s just adjusting to it like a pro and making the right corrections.”

 

Ronnie Ash

“I felt myself accelerating a little bit and I tried to see where my placement was. It kind of got away from me and I looked out my peripheral vision  and I crashed the hurdle. It happens, I shouldn’t have done it, my coach told me not to. (My coach said) to run straight through, look dead down the center of your lane, but you want to conserve some when you’re in a race to set yourself up for tomorrow.”

 

Devon Allen

“It was really exciting, the lights were really bright. It went well. I think just make it to the semis is the goal. It was a little bit sloppy, but I think that’s because I was a little excited. I’ll clean it up tomorrow and I’ll be ready to go.”

 

On the weather

“I’m from Oregon, that’s what I’m used to training in. I don’t think it bothers me too much.”

 

Women’s 400m Hurdles

Sydney McLaughlin

“The weather has had an effect on me. It is the weather, and the thousands of people in the crowd, and I have a cold. It’s just so much to process into one race and try to overcome at one time. I’m not really particularly happy with my performance. I think that whatever happens, happens. If I qualify on time, great. If not, great.”

 

“It’s exciting to be here. It’s also a little intimidating. A lot of people that have done this before and have more experience than me. To be here at this age and represent my country is just amazing.”

 

“That last stretch is hard to move. It’s hard to bounce back from some sloppy hurdles in the beginning and you waste energy trying to fix your stride pattern. The strength just wasn’t there.”

 

Ashley Spencer

“I’m still working on my rhythm and getting comfortable with my stride pattern. I took the 200 to get into tempo with 15 strides. Once I was comfortable with that tempo, half the race was over. Then I could pick up the speed and get to the finish and bring the finish line to me. I’m still playing around with it. I was happy with my race distribution.”

 

Dalilah Muhammad

“It went well. I just wanted to get out there and run my heat comfortably. I was able to do that so I’m happy with that.

 

“I have a lot left. You have to save something for the finals.

 

“I was watching the rest of the field, making sure I was first. Just going through what my coach said to do. Attack the first half, do what I needed to the second half. I was able to do that in lane 3.”

 

Women’s Discus Qualifying

Whitney Ashley

“It was a tough night. As you all saw we had the rain delay. I never got comfortable once we came under the hood and I tried to stay warm. I was adjusting my shoes, spitting on my hands, chalking up. It was just terrible. It was dry when we warmed up outside the stadium and I thought, this is going to be a good night. It was pretty exciting what I was doing outside. I wasn’t able to display that when I got inside the stadium. It happens. Such is life.”

 

“I felt like it was a bit of a butterball in my hand and slipping out and before I knew it, that was my throw. My feet looked really good, I thought. I just couldn’t put the disc back. I couldn’t grasp the implement at all.”

 

Shelbi Vaughan

“I almost missed my first throw because I had no idea we had already started. They didn’t give us any warning of how it was going to be like. It was a little hectic at first for me, I just threw my clothes off, went up there, got my discus and threw. It was just a terrible disc, I think I even hit a camera guy. I’m really sorry about that. As a whole, it’s the Olympics and it’s an amazing experience.”

 

Kelsey Card

“It’s the Olympics and just being here is awesome. My coach and I coming in wanted to recognize the importance of this meet and the atmosphere, but we wanted to remember that it is just another track meet. And so that’s what I really needed to focus on and try to just be me and do what I can do and control what I can do. I didn’t come out with the marks that I wanted to do. I came out on top for the U.S. women and that was cool. I like to walk away with that knowledge gained is an incredible experience and I’m glad I got to experience all of that.”

 

Morning Session

 

Men’s 400m Hurdles Qualifying

Kerron Clement

“It was really fast, the entire first round for everybody was really fast. I made it through to the semifinals, and that is all that matters. I am going to go out tomorrow and race the best that I know how and make it to the finals. It wasn’t taxing on my body or anything. Mentally I wasn’t prepared to go that fast. But I am always ready for anything, next round I know what to look for and I’ll be fine.”

 

“On the last hurdle I switched legs, I need to fix that. I know the finals will be a little bit quicker so I know I will have someone pushing me, so I will be fine for semifinals.”

 

Byron Robinson

“It wasn’t the best race, but I got through [to the semifinals] and that’s all that matters, taking it one round at a time.”

 

“I think I’m just too fixated on the time, the time is going to come. If I PR’ed and didn’t make it to the next round that would be a problem, so I made it to the next round and that’s all that matters.”

 

Women’s 3000m Steeplechase Final

Emma Coburn

“The last four or five laps were tough. I just kept on telling myself to keep on chipping away at the gap and once I got my position, all I wanted was to hold it. It wasn't until the last 400 or 600 meters when I realised that I had it and just couldn't lose it.”

 

On if she was emotional when she realized she won a medal...

"The last lap, I was not crying. I was focused. But on the victory lap, I was just looking for my boyfriend because I knew where he was cheering. By the time I got around to my family, I somehow managed to climb into the stands and give them all hugs. I saw my boyfriend, Joe, and I still have to see my coach, Mark [Wetmore]. I was looking for him but he's a little more discreet than my family, which has the 'Go Emma' shirts on and American flags. I still have to see Mark and call Heather and I'm so happy I get to share this moment with all of them."

 

On being the first U.S. Olympic women’s steeple medalist...

“I feel so lucky that that's part of my story. Obviously, if Jenny Simpson had stuck with [steeplechase], I think she would've been a multi-time medalist now. I feel lucky that it gets to be me, but there are so many great women … the two U.S women with me finished 8th and 11th. I finished 9th my first Olympics, so Colleen is already a step ahead of me there. Courtney, coming off of such a long collegiate season, it's so impressive. We have such a great talent pool, and people who didn't make the team are amazing, too. I think in the next 4, 8, 12 years we're going to have more and more women winning medals and on the men's side as well.”

 

Colleen Quigley

“I have mixed feelings. On the one hand, I thought that if everything went well I could be in the top six, but on the other hand, I’m eighth in the world in my first Olympics, and I am so proud of an eighth place finish for my first time here. So I am walking away satisfied. A lot of international races, and races in general are about staying calm no matter what happens. Today was just kind of a weird race, it went out really slow and then picked up really quick and I really didn’t plan for that, I thought it was just going to be hot from the gun. So that kind of threw me off. Just learning that when stuff like that happens you just have to stay calm.”

 

On Emma Coburn breaking the American Record…

“That was amazing. I was in my own pit of pain when I was laying on the track after [the race], then looking at the scoreboard I saw the American flag next to the three and I just forgot about the pain [momentarily] and felt really happy that it happened for an American. She really deserves it. That was really a silver lining, or a bronze lining.”

 

On American success in the steeplechase…

“Seeing the way the Americans have progressed in the steeple field, it hasn’t been around for forever, but the last two years in a row we’ve had Americans in the final. I feel like we are getting better and better in this newer event.”

 

Courtney Frerichs

“It wasn’t bad. It was definitely hard out there, though. It was my eighth steeple of the year so it’s been a long season. But I ran 24 seconds faster than I did in my eighth steeple last year, so I think it’s something to be happy about. It’s a little hard being a second away from top 10, but I laid it all out there. I’m just so proud of my teammates. Emma is amazing, I think she is setting the bar really high for us. I was hurting pretty early on. I didn’t feel too bad coming out of the prelim, but I could just tell that the season has been going since April, March and I could feel that today.”

 

On being aware of being at the Olympics...

“I wasn’t overly aware. I think when I got into the stadium, it hit me. I’ve never been in a stadium that big. But in the warm-up and everything, I felt calm and very at peace. I just tried to channel that during the race.”

 

Women’s Hammer Throw Final

Amber Campbell: “It’s awesome and frustrating all at the same time. If I could have just done what I was capable of, which I honestly should have done today, I would have been on the medal stand.  It’s one of those bittersweet things, because it is a new American Olympic record (best by an American at the Games), it is history being made. But I think it’s just going to get better from here ... Mom was here, Dad was here, my brother Mike and my coach. So I had a full cheering section.”

 

DeAnna Price

“When I made it to the final round, coach said, ‘put on your new shoes and just spin.’ Just spin it and go fast. So that’s what I did. I was going after it. I really want to thank the USOC and USATF for giving us this opportunity. Without them, we wouldn’t be where we are today. We are spoiled and it’s really nice. For me as an athlete, especially a hammer thrower coming out of college, it’s nice. It’s mind-blowing and exciting all at the same time and I couldn’t be more thankful for our whole entire track community coming together and doing this for us. It’s been amazing. We made history today, and having it with Amber is even better. Hopefully this is not my last Olympic Games. I’m hoping to inspire younger girls and younger generations to say it’s OK to be bigger and OK to be beautiful at the same time. You can have the best of both worlds. You can be strong and beautiful and have this personality that’s contagious. Because if you don’t, what’s life without fun, excitement and joy? That’s my Olympic experience is loving this game and loving who you are at the same time.”

 

Women’s 200m Heats

Tori Bowie

“My execution didn’t go as planned today. I’m very content with what happened today, because I can continue to improve throughout the rounds. I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”

 

Deajah Stevens

“I always like to get my first race out of the way and get the jitters out, then I am ready for the next rounds. I was happy with my race, I could have gotten a better start, but I will be more focused in the semis.”

 

On differences between international and collegiate competition...

“There’s people from different countries, people I don’t know. Usually racing collegiately, you know the people in your races because you’ve seen them before. It was different; you don’t know what one person might decide to do today, but I just had to focus on my race, so that’s what I did.”

 

On walking into Olympic Stadium for the first time...

“When I was walking out I was thinking ‘Oh my god, I am about to go run,’ because I was thinking about it last night, I couldn’t sleep. But now I know how it is and I am excited for the semis.”

 

Jenna Prandini

“We’ve just been waiting around, watching all of the other sports, so it’s fun to be out here on the track. I was really excited, so to finally get out here and to be able to run. It was good.”

 

On possible nerves before competing...

“I actually watched the races last night, my family and all my friends have been talking to me and they have been keeping me relaxed. I was fine.”

 

On the difference between the Olympics and World Championships...

“I mean it’s the Olympics, so just the name itself, it’s pretty cool to be here. I’m just really excited and hopefully I can do something good tomorrow, too.”

 

Men’s 3000m Steeplechase Heats

Evan Jager

“That was exactly what I wanted. I just wanted to stay on the rail and relax as long as I possibly could and make sure I made in the top three.”

 

On the change of approach going into the Olympics…

“It’s different because I know what I’m getting myself into. London was the first, I had relatively competitive on the world stage, so it was different to figure out how to manage my expectations and my emotions going into that big of a stage. My biggest growth has come in the last year with just mentally being ready in all aspects to be in this position. It’s been completely different.”

 

On the physical and mental change in training from last year…

“I would say about 95 percent of my training has been the same. I just changed a couple of things. I don’t know if that was with this specific race in mind or supposed to [coach] Jerry [Schumacher] just tinkering with things. The bulk of my training has stayed the same. The biggest changes are mentally with just trying to be ready for this position two days from now.”

 

On the expectation on medaling…

“The last few years those have been my expectations. I tried to force it last year in Beijing and I think that really bit me in the butt, so I am going to try to stay focus on the first 2600 meters and stay relaxed. Hopefully, by doing that I will put myself in the best position to do well.”

 

On the closing speed in the last 100 meters…

“I had the closing speed. I just used up my mental and emotional energy in the first 2,600 meters and I that was the biggest thing for me last year. I was the fastest I’ve ever been last year and so speed was not the problem it was the mental game and being able to stay relaxed and not really pressed from the front.”

 

On how to stay relaxed in a race…

“In workouts I try to stay relaxed and think about relaxing as opposed to thinking about pressing to hit splints or somethings. I would have a tendency to go into a hard workout thinking about the Olympics and thinking ‘I have to smash this workout’ and realize that I had to run the same splints in practices and not think about anything and try to stay relaxed as possible. That’s been my goal and my mentality this year.”

 

On being involved in the Olympic experience…

“I have not done any of the Olympic experience. I did opening ceremonies in 2012 and I really enjoyed everything about being at the Olympics, and this year I just trying to treat it like another meet and still represent my country as best as I can, but focus on my race.”

 

Donn Cabral

“I felt good. I’m pretty excited, I just got to see Emma [Coburn] win bronze, and I was pretty excited to see that. But my race, I was pretty happy with it. I felt really good out there, very composed. I was able to start out in the back and hurdle behind a group of people. It’s really difficult for those who haven’t steeplechased, you don’t see the barrier when you’re in a pack like that. That’s something I need to work on, because early on I was jumping way too close to the barriers. By the end of the race I was able to move up and pick people off as I went. I was really able to stay composed and finish strong.”

 

On Olympic experience and exploring the city of Rio...

“The explorer who discovered Brazil, his last name is Cabral, so being an explorer is in my blood. I wanted to come here and go to the opening ceremonies and go to the Nike house, but I have a little more business that needs to be done, but then I hopefully get to do a lot more exploring.”

 

On having three American steeplechasers qualify for the final...

“It doesn’t feel that new, because we had three [steeplechase runners] in the final last year, so I think it’s kind of expected from us now.”

 

Hillary Bor

“I didn’t know what to expect, but I knew I’ve been training really hard. Two laps to go, I was feeling good. I was feeling good for the whole race and the more the race went on, I was feeling good. I’m just excited for Wednesday.”

 

Men’s Triple Jump Qualifying

Christian Taylor

“[Today] was great, it’s a blessing. One and done, that’s always the dream [in qualifying]. But the slate is clean tomorrow. This mark isn’t going to do anything for me and I have to be ready to roll and come out here at 9:50 a.m., hopefully I can wake up.”

 

On goals for the Olympic Games...

“My goal is a world record. If you get the world record, you come out with a gold medal. My coach and I have trained so hard, and this is where I need to make it count.”

 

On competing in the morning instead of at night...

“We never compete in the morning. Diamond League is always at nighttime, everything. You have to be flexible, you have to work with it. To be honest, I can’t even sleep anyway. I am so excited and the wait has been killing me. I’m just tossing and turning anyway, so if I had to wait until night [to compete], maybe I would be drained.”

 

On the conditions...

“I didn’t even notice the wind, but the surface is even better than Beijing, so you have to make little adjustments as you saw in the long jump. You just have to be sharp.”

 

On adjusting to the surface...

“I just have to be a lot more aggressive, I think my phases were a little bit more passive so I may have lost some distance but my main focus was to be safe and smart, and get past the qualifier.”

 

On Wayde van Niekerk’s world record in the 400m...

“I never thought in my lifetime I would see anything like that, it’s phenomenal, I just pray that I can be a part of the Olympic story. There’s some special things happening here and I think why not me?”

 

Will Claye

“[Today] was good, I just had to get the jitters out and knock the rust off. My first couple of jumps, I was being a little too cautious not to foul, and on my last one I just had to let it rip, and I made it through. Now it’s time to go in the final and let it all out and give it my all.”

 

Chris Benard

“It definitely could have been better, I felt good out there, I just wasn’t able to execute like I’d like to. Everything in life is a learning experience, that’s all I can chalk it up to. There’s no use of blowing up on it or thinking of all of the things that I did bad, but got to move forward.”

 

On overall Olympic experience...

“Of course I would’ve liked to make the final, but just getting here was a struggle and a huge accomplishment, so being able to experience everything up to this point, and all of the people that I have met has been amazing. And all of the fans that have reached out to me and people telling me they are proud of me, it’s really been amazing.”

 



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