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Olympic Trials Q & A - Jasmine Chaney


Jasmine Chaney
400m hurdles
PR: 55.22 (2011)
Current Residence: Mesa, Ariz.
High School: McClintock (Tempe, Ariz.) H.S.

At 23 years of age and a 2011 graduate of Arizona State, Jasmine Chaney will be looking to make her first Olympic team in the 400m hurdles when the Olympic Team Trials - Track & Field take place at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore., June 22-July 1. Chaney made her first international team in 2011 with a spot on Team USA for the World Outdoor Championships. Chaney’s bid for a spot in London starts with the semi-finals of the women’s 400m hurdles June 29 and the final slated for July 1.USA Track & Field caught up with chaney with a short Q & A as she prepared for her first Olympic Trials.

Give us an update on how you're feeling and how your training is going into the Olympic Trials?
“As of now my training is going really well. I didn’t have such a good race (at adidas Grand Prix) in New York. I just had a bad race and coming off of that it was like ‘ok it’s so close to the Trials and to have such a bad race is not good’. It can be so mentally detrimental to an athlete but I had the best hurdle workout I have had all season when I got back. It felt so nice because the faith was there but the confidence was kind of shook. It was a good start to reinstalling my confidence. For me as an athlete my practices help deter my performance so if iIgo out and have good practices I know I’ll have good races.”

What was your primary focus going into the adidas Grand Prix last weekend?
“To PR (personal record) and run almost at close to my PR as possible in that meet specifically I knew I needed to do well and run fast because that’s where my confidence is going to come for the Trials. I was so focused on executing, snapping down and putting together that perfect race that I just had so many things going through my head. That was my main fault. It just wasn’t time.”

How is your preparation different this season heading into the Trials?
“I think the patience. There is no urgency. This is my first year out and with college you feel there is an urgency when you get on the track. You have conference (championships), (NCAA) Regionals, NCAA (Championships) and all these meets where you want to perform well. There’s this huge urgency in doing well. Now every time I stepped on the track this year we knew I had to get better and take my time. My coach and agent kept telling me that I have time. Even after my race my agent kept saying ‘you have time’. The urgency has been a little elongated where there is no rush for me to necessarily to run fast because when it matters it only matters at the Trials. That’s where my preparation has been different. I’ve also been doing other things I’ve never done before as a collegiate. As a professional I have been doing a lot of different workouts, treatments, and working with physios. I’m doing harder things so my body is taking harder hits. I have had to be more cautious and make sure I’m healthy.”

What have you learned most in your first year competing as a professional?
“Out of everything I’ve learned that training is the key component to running fast and performing the way you want to perform and with that you have to be patient and trusting what you’re doing. Professionals go so much longer in season and for me training is really important with that. You just can’t have those days where you kind of feel like training. Every day really counts when you’re a professional athlete because you don’t get a lot of chances to race.”
Is there anything specific in your training heading into the Trials that you're choosing to focus on?
“No. My coach and I talk about how coaches will panic and change a bunch of things that aren’t needed. We agreed that we aren’t going to panic. We’re going to focus on not changing everything and just to be more aggressive with everything we do. We’re  just taking a mental approach to training every day.”

What type of a mark do you anticipate it taking to get to London?
“Last year I ran so many races that once I was rested going into USA’s (Outdoor Championships) I was telling my coach ‘I can run 54 seconds. It’s gonna take 54 and I’m gonna make it with a 54.’ It only took 56 seconds for each round before he and I made the team with a 55.2. Looking back at 2008 (Olympic Trials) times it took 54.8 seconds to make the team and it’ll probably be around the same time. I learned last year that you can’t focus on the time to make it. I didn’t think 55.2 would make the team. I thought you’d have to run a 54 to make it. It’s all about executing your race and making the rounds. I think some people get caught up in that. Whatever time it takes to make the team, I’m going to run it."

How many different athletes do you see having a chance to making the team in the 400mH?
“Everybody. If you aren’t stepping on the track to make the team then don’t come to the Olympic Trials. If you’re coming in for the experience or exposure then you shouldn’t come. All you’re going to do is defeat yourself and put yourself in a slump. For me my only goal is to make the team. I hope everybody’s focus is that. I believe everyone is stepping on the track to make the team and if you aren’t then you’re one less person that I have to worry about. At the end of the day it’s going to make me a better athlete if everyone fights for the positions. “
What do you consider your greatest strength over other competitors at the Olympic Trials?
“I think my biggest strength is my mentality. My faith and relationship that I have with God is also my biggest strength. There aren’t a lot of people that have a faith that I have. The way I think about things is completely different than anyone can imagine. If these girls are going to beat me it’s going to be by being purely better than me because mentally I’m prepared to win.”
What would a spot on Team USA for the Olympic Games mean for you?
“I imagine myself crossing that line in tears. A feeling of accomplishment and of a favor of everything that I’ve ever asked for. It’s like being a kid sitting at home asking your mom for  a bike for Christmas. You do everything you’re supposed to do and the night before you don’t see that bike but when you wake up and that bike is there and has your name on it. It takes away everything. You forget how much you wanted it and you’re so happy that you have. It’s knowing that everything you worked for and everything you dreamed is there. Its happened.”

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