London Press Conference Excerpts - July 31
LONDON – Team USA athletes Jason Richardson, Allyson Felix, Christian Taylor and Dawn Harper met with members of the media along with head coaches Andrew Valmon and Amy Deem in London on Tuesday.
Below are excerpts of the conference:
Andrew Valmon, men’s head coach
“We are strong. We are strong from the sprints all the way up to the marathon and the field events. We are excited about the diversity we have in terms of scoring and medaling in all of those events.
“The relays have been going great. I feel confident that the bodies we need are ready to compete. We’ve had good practices, and Monaco was good for us as well, so we are ready to go.”
Amy Deem, women’s head coach
“The women's team is doing really well. We’ve had great training camps in Birmingham and here in London. We have a lot of great things going on in practice. We are excited, and I feel that athletes would follow suit in this, we are just ready for track to start. We’re excited and we feel really strong about our group. They seem to be peaking at the right time from observing the practices.
“We feel really strong with the six people we have [in the relay pool] and our lineups going in.
“I really feel like this is the strongest team I've ever been around on the women’s side. I feel like we have a lot of experience and a lot of new people, maybe on an Olympic team, but they are world champions and have experience. I'm really excited about the women and what they can achieve.”
“From a season perspective, I’ve been doing really well. I'm progressively getting better, so that’s definitely the purpose of the training I’ve been going through. It has been an incredible ride. It started off slow, but I’ve picked up speed, and it is an amazing honor to join the Sub-13 club, which is a major milestone for short hurdlers.
“As far as going into this meet, I like where I am in terms of predictions. I’m blessed with the honor of possibly being a medalist, but also not being the favorite. The only favorite that matter is that my Mom thinks I'm going to win, so I’m glad I have one person in my corner. I’m just going in there with the innocence of going in there and doing my best and not having to worry about having to completely win.
“In arguably the fastest Olympic final that will probably ever happen in the hurdles, it’s probably going to take a world record. We definitely have so many capable athletes, that in order to come out on top that whoever breaks the tape will pretty much set history, so I definitely would love to be that person and I’ve been training incredibly hard.
“I'm feeling really good. The Trials was great for me, it really had been a long time coming for me since I had set a PR, so for that to come together just encouraged me to keep pushing and hopefully have a good performance here. Practice has been going well, and things have been coming together. Now I am just excited to get my chance to get out there.
“It makes me feel good that I'm going in the right direction. I had kind of been around the same times for so long that I needed that breakthrough to reach the next level, so it definitely helps my confidence that I can put together a really great race and not put a limit on myself.
On his goal for London ...
“To surprise some more people. I'm trying to be that star out there. I'm trying to be a crowd pleaser and put on a show. At the end of the day people are here to see a show, and I’m trying to be that star, that Chris Brown, that Michael Jackson that everyone talks about at the end.
“Everyone is using the age against me…I don’t want people to say that I’m here for an experience, or I’m here to go through the motions, I’m here to win. It would be an absolute blessing to be able to bring that book for all those people, Carl Lewis, Mike Powell, Willie Banks, the people that did it before me. I’m trying to be the young cat out there that brings it back.”
“Thinking about where I come from, and thinking about being a young girl from East St. Louis, having Jackie Joyner Kersee be a mentor from me and actually being able to call her at any moment and having her actually pick up her phone and talk to me is just a blessing in itself. Going to UCLA on a full ride is a blessing, from East St. Louis, my parents did not have the money to pay for that.
“In ’08, it was just a dream come true. Having knee surgery in late February before the trials, made it seem if my dreams were coming to an end, but knowing that I had put in the base work and my faith was strong and I was able to come back, and then I did. Going to trials and when I got third there, I thought I ‘oh my god I actually made the team at 24 years old,' then to actually go there and win a gold...and I remember I ran in Michelle Perry’s shoes. I didn’t have any shoes, my spikes were run down, and I ran in the final in her shoes. To think of where I came from then to where I am now, it’s like God gave me all of the desires of my heart. I wanted to be here so bad, I wanted to be at my second Olympics at the age of 28 and to go defend my Olympic title and do something no one else has ever done.”
Track and field competition begins on Friday, Aug. 3.