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Team USA press conference - IAAF World Championships

8/21/2015
 

Coach Edrick Floreal

Opening Statement

“Our preparation was almost perfect. You always hope for things to go the way you want them to. I think the team is well prepared. They’re on top of their games and were meticulous in their preparation and training. Our medical staff did an outstanding job to make sure they were ready. The people in Japan did a fantastic job; they treated us like royalty. Our team benefitted greatly from that. Relay practice has been tremendous. The baton has been going all the way around, which is the way we like it. We’re pretty pleased with our preparation and arrival. Everything went well. Everyone is in great spirits, all are happy and healthy.”


On training in Narita and traveling to Beijing

“We arrived in different groups. Some are still arriving, so we are not all completely here yet. It’s based on when people are competing, so they are arriving in waves and that’s good. We want to make sure that athletes arrive in a timely fashion, so they can take advantage of the preparation for their competitions, and we kind of get them mentally prepared to do that.”


On how relays decisions are made

“We have input but the relay coach has the final say on the order and personnel also, even though we work as a team and collaborate greatly to make sure we all see the same thing. The ultimate last decision on the order is on Coach Mitchell.”

 

Coach Delethea Quarles

Opening Statement

“Like Coach Floreal just mentioned, our women’s team also had an excellent time in Narita, and the preparation there was just outstanding. The people were great, loving, and we feel very comfortable that all the things we needed to happen there did happen. We are excited about this championships here. Of all the amazing people who have mentioned here in this room, we are looking to continue their legacy for the U.S. and increase our medal count.”


On who gets chosen for the relay

“We’ve been working hard with our relays and all the possibilities and different places we can use to get through the trials and finals. Our relay coach has been doing an outstanding job with that in training camp and throughout the year. He’ll be the deciding factor, as well as Allyson’s desires (to run both relays). We are prepared to do our very best and whoever is chosen, we are going to put the best four legs out there.”


On if you can change an athlete at the last minute for a relay

“Declaration for relay pool is already in, and we make sure the people that are possible are the people who are also included in the declaration.”

 

Jenny Simpson

Opening Statement

“I feel great. The story from my last few years is consistency and that’s something I’m proud of. I’m consistently getting on the track ready to run well. I’m excited to hopefully further that consistency here at the World Championships.”

 

On being consistent

“The 1500 is really hot right now, so it’s a fun event to be in and a fun space in track & field to run really fast. The women every year keep raising the bar. At the World Championships, one of the great equalizers is the starting line of round one. Rounds are a different story; there’s no pacer. I think that kind of elevates me to another level. Hopefully, if history repeats itself, the rounds will serve to my favor.”

 

On running the rounds

“I think that I train to be good every time I get to the track whether it’s a one-off at a Diamond League race or through the rounds, it’s about learning to stay calm and focus on the task at hand. I don’t specifically train to race on back-to-back days, but when that challenge is here, I’m excited to hopefully rise to the occasion.”

 

On Dibaba’s world record

“Monaco really shook things up in the women’s 1500m in a lot of different ways and different layers. I have hardly ever come into a race as a favorite. I’ve spent most of my career with people who are better than me and I’ve found ways to be with them and, on some occasions, beat them. So I think the starting line at the world championships is the great equalizer. No one knows what my preparation was like except for me. To echo a lot of what my teammates have said, when you come into the world championships, really focus on your preparation and the task you know you can carry out. So that’s absolutely what I’m focused on. I’m in great shape and in a great position. I’ll be on the starting line trying to beat everybody.”


On athletes in the 1500m being caught for doping over the last few years

“I remember arriving in Daegu and every athlete being drug tested and I remember being really excited about that development in our sport. Deep in heart, I think that’s why I was successful there in 2011. Moving into 2012, what we are seeing now is a demonstration of a really unfortunate thing where people in the final kept clean athletes like myself from advancing to the final. Those sorts of situations are really unfortunate, but my job today as an athlete is to train and be prepared and perform at the best of my ability. I certainly support and encourage the governing bodies that are in charge of regulating athletes to really step it up and help catch people. I’m here here to race and do the best I can and beat everyone on the track and to really support and encourage the effort to really clean things up for the championships.”

 

On if she’d ever return to the steeplechase

“I competed in 2009 and ran a PR of 9:12. I never would’ve imagined that night that it would be the last time I would compete in the steeplechase. The following year, I had to end my season early due to injury and then extending beyond that injury is why I decided to play it safe and stay out of the steeplechase and run the 1500 in 2011. The quick success that came in the 1500 has kept me there. My love for the 1500 meters was slow in coming and has grown. The thought of going back to steeplechase, that’s not something I’m considering at this point. I also have a great teammate, Emma Coburn, who is running in that lane right now and she’s great at steeplechase. Knowing the way I went out and the times I was able to run and continue to improve. Every once in a while I wonder if there is a steeplechaser still in there, but now I’m a 1500m specialist. The only way I’d go back is if I thought I had a legitimate shot at the world record, but I turn 29 while I am here. That’s an event I wonder if I could go back later and still be good at. I don’t know if that’s possible. Right now and for the next few years, I see myself as a 1500 meter runner. But never say never. I never would’ve thought I’d be sitting up here with these teammates talking about the 1500, so I’m definitely not ruling it out forever. The best birthday gift I could get this year is qualifying for the final. My birthday is the day that I run the semifinal this year. It’s August 23.”


On doping

“Regardless of my personal feelings, there are rules and I believe in rules and the process of amending those rules. So if somebody is competing within the rules, I think that we should respect the rules as they stand. And if people feel differently about rules, go about changing them.”


On the race in Monaco

“I’ve looked at it both ways as well, from both a positive standpoint and a frustrating one. The truth is that I came into 2015 saying that the World Championships is the focus. That’s the star on the calendar and what I want to peak for. The challenges of Monaco is I’m paying the price for that. I’m more prepared here than I was there. Monaco is a good example of, if you can go out and be at your best and if somebody beats you when you’re running great, you have to have respect for that and move on to the next challenge. Monaco was a great run for me but also really frustrating, and I think the combination of those emotions really motivated my last four weeks of training and as a result I think I’m coming in here fitter than I was in Monaco.”

 

Christian Taylor

Opening Statement

“Last year was a fantastic year, I had a lot of fun and I think that was really important for longevity in sport. I wanted to try some new things and even had the pleasure of competing in some Diamond League meets in the long jump and, of course, the triple jump and got to go to World Relays. That was an experience of a lifetime and I’m really grateful to USATF for selecting me to have that opportunity. I think it was just about having some fun and mentally pushing myself beyond a barrier that I thought I had. It’s really carried into this year and the performances kind of show for themselves. I’m very grateful.”


On going over 18m

“This year has been a blessing in itself. I switched legs in jumping and that’s something I’ve worked on a lot last year. Now I’m mentally tough and I have competitors like Picardo who are pushing me every time I step on the track. I’m a competitor. I feel like I’m a lion at heart. I’m not a big fan of losing. When I’m challenged, I step up to the plate and 18 meters has come.”


On when he decided to change legs

“My coach wasn’t very excited about that when the opportunity presented itself, but at the time I was having a lot of injuries and the the off year was an opportunity to become more comfortable with switching legs. I decided to take the challenge and God has been very good for things to happen so quickly. I can’t tell you how grateful I am to be here. I’m no longer the reigning champion, but I’m definitely here to get back on the podium and win gold for USA.”

 

On if the world record is possible

“The competition has been wonderful. I have been trying to get ‘year of the jumps’ trending because it’s been such an exciting show. When you talk about world record, this is the greatest all time. It’s almost for the stars to align. You need the perfect wind, the perfect competition and competitors really going after it. To have both of us at such a high level, I think it’s very good, and I think it’s going to make for even a better show next year. Right now, I can only reflect on what I’ve done in training. My coach and I have been working our butt off. I feel like I’m in great shape. I’m seeing blue skies now, which means the weather is clearing up and so I’m not so much worried about Pichardo as making sure I’m the healthiest and best man out there and I’m excited for finals.”

 

On the difficulty of changing legs

“I started with my left and now I’m jumping off my right. I used to jump both long and triple off my left foot and now I’m on my right foot. It’s really just the timing and handling the speed. Being comfortable being uncomfortable. For the longest time, I made excuses, like if the distances weren’t coming, then yeah that’s my new leg or my off leg, but now this is just jumping. There’s no more excuses. No one else cares what’s going on. If I’m missing the spike or whatever, there’s no more excuses. Once I get out there, I have to beat everyone else. Once I put that out of my head, my jumps were the furthest on the board.”

 

On competing against Picardo at Worlds

“I think it will be a spectacular competition. I definitely think 18 meters is going to be the standard now. Most importantly for me, we have four Gators on the team - four people from my university, I think the greatest university in the U.S., in the jumps right now. I think Marquis Dendy, Omar Craddock and Will Claye have all shown throughout the year and in the past that these are top-level jumpers. To be out there with these guys, it’s going to be spectacular.”

 

On what it will take to go all the way

“First it’s getting through qualifying, and then we can see what happens in the finals.”

 

On what it’s like living and training in Europe

“Living in Europe is wonderful. Getting to and from meets is so much easier now. There is no more jet lag. Arnhem is wonderful and the Netherlands is so nice. Where I’m training is such a positive atmosphere, and the weather has been very nice. England can be very grey sometimes, and to see the sun is something I used to take for granted, especially in the sunshine state of Florida. I’m very grateful for my new home.”


On how hard it was and how long it took to master a different foot

“It was extremely difficult. The toughest part was more mentally than physically because in triple jump, we bound off of left foot and right foot all the time, but to do it with speed was the most difficult part. All of 2014, I just did my half approach because mentally I wasn’t ready to push myself with all the speed I’d be bringing from an 18 and 20 step approach. Zurich was the hump, it was the Diamond League final, and was the biggest change for me. To be able to jump 17.50m from that distance, maybe it’s time to man up and and go ahead and start jumping.”

 

Allyson Felix

Opening Statement

“I have definitely been on the scene for quite some time now. I’m just so grateful to be back at World Championships. My last one, I was injured, so I’m happy to be here and I’m excited for the challenge of running the 400. It’s something different and I’m looking forward to getting out there and putting my best foot forward.”


On the process of deciding to run the 400m

“It was a really difficult decision because I felt I was in shape to do both. But it’s just impossible with the schedule. And it was disappointing because, as I’ve said before, I’m not the only one who can run a 200 and 400. I wish we would’ve been allowed the opportunity to really go after it, but we just kind of looked back at what I’ve been able to do. I’ve had the pleasure and blessing of running 200 quite a few times, and we felt it was time to step up and the opportunity was here for us to focus on it.”

 

On her versatility

“All the events always help me for different reasons. The 100 always gives me that speed to run a great 200, and the 400 always helps with the endurance side of things. I’m just that versatile type of sprinter where I need those types of things, kind of touch of everything in training. And I’ve always been that way and that’s the way Bobby has trained me.”

 

On choosing the 400 over the 200

“It was very difficult. Everyone knows I love the 200. To think of going to a championships and not being in it...I can’t even imagine when I have to watch and see results and wishing I could be in it. I did feel good that I have had so many times to run the 200 meters at championships, so I did feel like it’s time to step up.”

 

On what’s difficult about the 400m

“I’m not as experienced in the 400. I’ve had so much experience in the 200 that I know every aspect well. The 400 doesn’t come as naturally for me so it’s always a challenge.”

 

On her 400m performance at the 2011 World Championships

“The 400 is a very strategic race. I learned more about what I need to do to put together a more complete race.”


On if she still gets nervous

“I always focus on what I have to do. I think some nerves are good; I’m always nervous. Once I step into that stadium, I know what I’m doing and I’m passionate about it, so I have fun with it.”


On if she would try to do a 200/400 double in Rio

“I would love to have the opportunity to have the choice to be able to do it. Regardless of what happens here, the schedule is how it is here. So it’s something we’re going to have to see.”

 

On if she will be cheering for Justin Gatlin when he competes

“I’m going to be cheering on all of my teammates.”


On difference of 200m and 400m in rounds

“I would say the most difficult part is being patient. I am a true sprinter; I like to go fast all the time. When you try to slow me down or give me a strategy, it’s a little different to lock into that. I think just with experience you become more comfortable with that. As far as rounds goes, it’s not too much different. I think I am definitely used to rounds and definitely trained to be able to handle that load. I definitely feel comfortable with that - just as I would with the 200.”


On her family’s support

“My family just means everything to me, so especially in 2013 when you’re talking about how my brother came down to help me off the track. It was huge support for me just to look up and be able to see him. I’m still not quite sure how he got down there, but that’s what my family does. They just support me, and I’m excited they are all arriving pretty soon and for me, that always just feels like a piece of home that’s here with me. So it will be great just to get on the line and know that they are in the stadium watching me and just knowing that they have my back and are supporting me.”

 

On Dina Asher-Smith

“I’m very impressed with her. She’s had a phenomenal season and it’s exciting to see some young talent coming up in the UK. As long as she going at the rate she is, I think she’ll have a promising career. I’d tell her to take her time. Enjoy the process and the journey. Learn as much as she can and have fun with it.”

 

On the option of running both relays

“I’m planning on running both relays. We have some different scenarios as far as positions, so we’ll see how everyone is feeling, but we had a really good training camp. We have a ton of new girls. Everyone is really young. I’m the oldest one now, so that’s different but it’s fun. It’s a great group, and we are getting our chemistry going, and we’ve had some really great practices. We’re getting everyone feeling comfortable, so we’re looking forward to having a really great team.”

 

David Oliver

Opening Statement

“I feel pretty good. Just having some consistent times running and really in good form to defend my title out here in Beijing. It’s good to be back in China. I have been here several times in this stadium competing and I’ve always had a good time. The Chinese public, they love the hurdles, so I hope to go out there and give them a good show starting Wednesday.”


On if he worries about competitors

“For me the competition is always the same 10 barriers in front of me, so I don’t really concern myself too much with other individuals in the race. In the hurdles, you have to be very diligent in your technique. You can’t be focusing on others or you’ll be falling or lying on the ground, so I just focus on myself, those 10 hurdles and trying to take care of those. If I beat those, I will take care of business at the end of the race.”

 

On Aries Merritt battling kidney disease

“That’s unfortunate. I wasn’t up to date on things. Anytime you’re having health issues, it’s unfortunate, but I’m not really aware of it. I didn’t read any articles or anything like that, but hopefully he will just get well soon.”


On how he keeps himself healthy and if he has received any advice from Allen Johnson

“From Allen, I’ve gotten so many tips from him going back to 2005, when I went on this adventure as a pro. He is, in my opinion, the greatest of all time in the 110 hurdles, so he’s always been a great resource for me. In hurdles, you’re always dealing with injuries. You just have to get lucky and just hope it doesn’t strike at the wrong moment. Last year, I had to shut down my season due to injury in early July. This year, I have been healthy and just keep maintaining. I know when I get to the line and I’m healthy that I am one of the best to run the 110 hurdles. As long as I do that, I feel like I can be the champion.”

 

On his chances of repeating as a World Champion

“I feel my chances are great, running back until 12 or 13 seconds. Running pretty consistent times, I’m pretty sure in the top 10 fastest times this year, my name is up there a few times. That’s all I can do is handle business in my lane when it comes to running rounds. I know I’m fit. I’m healthy; I’m strong; I’m ready to rock. We’ll just see Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, and I will hopefully produce some fireworks on Friday evening and hope to run 12 seconds in this stadium and be the gold medalist again.”

 

On Justin Gatlin

“He’s just doing his job and he’s back running fast and I’m happy for him. That’s a you problem. Y’all just keep bringing it up and focusing on that, and there are tons of great athletes representing Team USA who warrant the same type of attention. I’m rooting for him and I’m happy he’s doing well.”

 






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