Join/Renew Now

Archives:
Latest news

Quick Questions with Dwight Phillips

1/3/2014
 
USATF:   As you look back on your career, what are your thoughts?
     
DP:   As I look back on my career, I have accomplished a lot of great things that I never really imagined I would do. I feel like as a result of my hardwork and extreme dedication, I have achieved the unbelievable.
     
USATF:   Do you ever think, “Wow, I’m kind of a big deal?”
     
DP:   In the moments I was competing, I never thought about it. I had been doing the sport since I was eight years old, so I was really passionate about it. With all these great athletes like Carl Lewis, Jackie Joyner-Kersee and
Michael Johnson, I just wanted to compete on the world stage like they did. I seized the opportunity, and it was pretty great.
     
USATF:   Let’s talk about your year in 2013.
 
DP:   Twenty-thirteen was a difficult year for me. I tore my Achilles in 2012, so I knew it was going to be a challenge for me to come back. I thought that as an athlete for me to compete at the World Championships, I felt like I was
invincible. I felt like all I had to do was show up for a championship, and I would receive a medal. The reality is that we have many great athletes who have been training for three, four or five years for that moment, and they beat me. But that can never take away all my years of commitment. I was happy to close that chapter of my life.
     
USATF:   Were you disappointed at all?
     
DP:   I didn’t perform nearly up to the standard that I had in the past, but I was happy to leave the sport in a high moment. I was happy that I could close that chapter in my life, and I could move on to the next chapter. For me to achieve the lifetime achievement award at the IAAF Gala was amazing. For me to be recognized for all my years that I put into the sport, it felt great.
     
USATF:   What are some high and lows of your career?
     
DP:   The highest point or greatest moment of my career was in 2003 in Birmingham, England. I won my very first championship. It was the World Indoor Championship. That moment was very special because I taught myself how to win that day. I had never won an NCAA or a State Championship in long jump. 

That day, I won a World Championship. Of all the championships I didn’t win in college or high school, I overcame to achieve a World Championship and an Olympic Championship, and I never even saw it coming.
 
One of my lows I must say was probably not making the Olympic team in 2008 because I never got a chance to defend my Olympic Championship. That’s something I always wanted to do. If you do it one time, it’s luck. If you do it two or three times, you have skill. I guess I did exemplify that skill by winning multiple championships and Olympics to show my longevity in the sport.
     
USATF:   What is your proudest moment?
     
DP:   My proudest moment was in 2009 when I was 31 years old, and everyone told me my career was over and that I couldn’t perform at that age. I set records in the World Championships and made the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team
afterwards. That was like a rebirth in my career, and I was very proud of it.
     
USATF:   What led to your decision to retire?
     
DP:   As an athlete, it's so difficult to know when to say when. You see all the great athletes like Michael Jordan and Wayne Gretzky. In your mind, you want to do it forever. The reality is that your body is tired and emotionally you just don’t get as hype as you used to.
 
I knew that when I no longer wanted to feel hurt during training that it was time to hang it up. I knew I wanted to win more championships, but mentally and psychologically I knew I wasn’t into it anymore. As an instinct you know when you’re not your best, and that’s going against the law. In my mind, I knew that.
     
USATF:   So what’s next for you?
     
DP:   I’m doing two things in conjunction with each other. My main priority is my community outreach program, Leap of Faith. It’s in the metropolitan Atlanta area, and it provides counseling for kids and adults experiencing
substance abuse problems.
 
I use my company QuickTime Cinema (launched in 2010 to help deliver high-quality production services to both corporate and commercial clients) to help disseminate in the community things we can change. I use the
media as a platform to relay that message out to the people. Really for me, a personal passion is educating the youth about our sport of track & field.
 
I’m also working on a documentary entitled Reliving the Moment, for which I've interviewed people like Ralph Boston and Kevin Young about their experiences breaking world records and winning the Olympic Games. I think what's lost in our sport is that the youth of today are not educated about our past. Our forefathers paved the way, and I think it’s very important to share the history of our sport.
     
USATF:    Describe your life after track & field?
     
DP:   In my life after track, I definitely want to impact people in the community to become educated, to be the best that they can possibly be and to be great citizens for our country whether it’s in sports or the community or by
learning a trade.
     
USATF:   Will you remain involved or give back to the sport?
     
DP:   I’m currently coaching right now, and I don’t think I can just walk away from the sport right now. I am coaching some athletes that have potential to be future medal winners, so I’m looking forward to continuing to impact the
lives of people any way I need to do it.
 
I am an IAAF ambassador, which will help me continue to impact the world as well.
     
USATF:   Do you have any parting words for the family, friends and teammates you’ve made through USA Track & Field? 
     
DP:   Being a part of Team USA has taught me so much about life and has really changed my perspective. I got to travel the world and back three times. I've met so many people who ­­­have had a positive impact on my life through the sport, and I’m very grateful for that. I've met Carl Lewis and Jackie Joyner-Kersee and Ralph Boston. All these great athletes have really encouraged me to be the best I could possibly be.
 
 
As for my teammates, Team USA is a family. It’s bigger than a sorority or fraternity. If there’s ever anyone on Team USA and they need a place to stay in Atlanta, they can always call me. I think that’s the best thing. 


Christa Mann
Marketing & Communications Manager
USA Track & Field
317.713.4672
e-mail

Nike Hershey Visa BMW Gatorade Rosetta Stone Gill Athletics Pheonix St. Vincent Lynx
© 2001-2014 USA Track & Field, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
To license USATF video footage go to www.t3media.com or www.t3licensing.com.