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Athlete Quotes: Devon Allen, Chaunte Lowe, Sam Kendricks, Brianna Rollins press conference

8/11/2016
 

In anticipation of the 2016 Olympic Games, USATF held a press conference in Rio de Janeiro with Olympics Trials champions Brianna Rollins (100m Hurdles), Sam Kendricks (pole vault), Chaunte Lowe (high jump) and Devon Allen (110m Hurdles.)


BRIANNA ROLLINS

On her training in a group environment…

“My group training situation is really great, with Dalilah Muhammad and Kristi Castlin who are also on the team, we all work together and encourage each other each and every day, and we have such a great coach that believes in us just as much as we do, even when sometimes we don’t believe in ourselves, helping us stay strong mentally and physically. That is such a great part of track and field, because it’s 50 percent mental and 50 percent physical, so having that aspect down is a very important part of this sport as well.”


“Dalilah [Muhammad] and I are roommates so we do hang out, but we are friends, as well as training partners.”


On how she got back on top of the competition…

“I just have to learn and grow and just get back on top of my game and have trust in my coach to have the faith that I need to get back on top, and that is what I have been doing I just been working really hard all season and make the necessary sacrifices to be great.”

 

On how being the Olympic Trials champion prepares you for the Olympics…

“It’s most definitely one of the toughest teams to make. It could’ve been anyone of us that broke into the finals to make the team, but I worked really hard and it was something that I truly wanted to accomplish this year.”


“I set my eyes on the Olympic Trials and the Olympic Games throughout the whole season and just took everything slow and being patient and trusting in the whole process.”

 

On making the cross country move and training in Southern California…

“I actually like it, I like Los Angeles, there are a lot of things to do. South Carolina was more of a college town, so it wasn’t too much things to do there so now I have more activities to do outside track & field.”

 

On having more pressure for being a record holder…

“I try not to put any pressure on myself. I just try to continue and believe in what I been doing. I been trying all year for this moment and this is what I do.”


“I just try to have faith in my coach and trust in the whole process will get me throughout the Olympic Games.”


SAM KENDRICKS

On sacrifices that were made to make it the Olympics…

“The sacrifices that you make set precedent for the rest of your life in sports. They become who you are. 10 years down the road I will see my sacrifices. We are athletes, and we live this life to try to represent ourselves professionally.”


“This particular year, it’s a matter of sacrificing at competitions. We have to arrive as our best at the Trials, out of respect to ourselves and all the other great competitors. That respect drives you to make leaps or have patience. Growing up in this event [pole vault] you have to take it one pace at a time, and my father has always helped me in regard to my own ability so that I don’t try to reach too far. When athletes reach too far they get hurt. That’s not always the case, sometimes it’s just unlucky, but it’s about having a plan and seeing yourself come along the journey.”


“I am very fortunate to have my father as my current coach, he has been coaching me my entire life and was my high school track coach.”


On Russian athletes not competing in the Olympics…

“In the vaults, Russians have always had a history of being very immaculate in the event, I can only express that I am kind of disappointed that this issue didn’t come to light sooner so that the clean athletes could shine through.”


“Being in an event that is defined by the rules that we compete by, it defines what makes a champion and what makes second place, and what makes a fair jump vs. what does not make a fair jump. We have to understand that this is the process of the sport has to go through in order to grow. More light being on this issue makes it so that everyone is along with the same standard. The IOC is a fully encompassing body and I think it needs to extend evenly to all areas of the sport. I am certainly unhappy that some of my [Russian] friends are not able to compete, I have no doubt in their ability to compete fairly.”


On his situation in the pole vault…

“Well, I think that the pole vault in the world, and in the stadium is a very fluctuating thing. We can certainly be competing professional but the rest of us are young athletes, the Shawn Barbers, the Tiago Braz da Silvas of the world, those PR’s right there are impressive in itself this year. Those are the guys that are coming up this level game and in 2020 and the competition is very open. The pole vault is a very climate/conditions based event. We all know are limits but it depends on the day and conditions of the meet to see how everyone will do. I know at this particular time we all have made sacrifices to come and are the most prepared, so I think the event itself is a very open advantage and everyone will have the be the most competitive to compete.”

 

On his service in the army reserve…

“In 2015, I graduated from the University of Mississippi in commission of second lieutenant in the [United States] army reserve. I am currently with my unit and youngest intensity in the six-55th motor transportation company. Those guys are really proud of me and have given me every chance to continue as a civilian. I am certainly looking to represent the Americans on two fronts, as a military man and as a US athlete.”


On the first few days of the Olympics…

“We all recognize that track & field competition athletics is going to come at the end of the games, because you can sum it up in a week and a half. It is one of the classic events and one of the most classic sports in the Olympics. I think it's spot, more than any of the [other] games, is in the climax”


“After I’ve turned home from London. I went back home to train for a week and a half. I wanted to approach the games at my most ready. The last few competitions I had were to, as my coach would say ‘home the anchor’ and to make sure we were are most sharp against several other competitors. But it came in a time period where we wanted to arrive at the village with the ability to rest. Five days outside of the competition you have been training for ten years, it’s not that long of a rest. ‘You will not become any less of an athlete you know how to pole vault,’ he says so I trust him in every regards in that respect.”


CHAUNTÉ LOWE

On her return to the Olympics...

“This time [at the Olympics] I won’t be a sophomore in college, or a mother, nursing a one-year old, so this time I put myself in the best advantage, and I think that it’s really going to work well for me this time.”


On family dynamic being a mother of three and a world-class athlete…

“It’s really difficult, but we make sure to have a lot of fun. While I was here [in Rio] my daughter actually started her first day of kindergarten, and it was special for us because she was suspected to have aspergers [syndrom]. She was really struggling. But she has developed so much and has been placed out of the special needs program last year, and placed in kindergarten, so she just had her first day [in kindergarten].”


On the remainder of her competitive career and life beyond track and field...

“I’m actually a day-trainer, I do a lot of research and analysis. I am also working with TD Ameritrade, trying to get a program with athletes after they retire, so they can find that financial literacy for them. As soon as I get back [to the US]  I’m starting classes and teaching classes in accounting and financial management.”


On competing at 32-years old and her legacy left on the sport...

“I feel very honored, it’s probably a lot easier when you are young, your joints still move the way they’re supposed to, but for me finding out that we have 555 [athletes] on our team, and only 11 are mothers. It’s a great blessing to be on top for so long. I am so excited to see the next generation that is coming, and this sport will not be left without a legacy. I like to feel that I have had a hand in that, and that I was able to start early and young and now I’m able to see it all the way through.”


“I don’t believe that I will be going to the next Olympics, but maybe I can train one of my daughters up to be an Olympian, or maybe my son might want to become an Olympian, so I am really excited about that.”


On sacrifices that were made to make it the Olympics…

“It started with sacrificing my social life. I still have a lot of fun with my close family and friends, but I wasn’t a person that would go out and do a lot of things because I grew up in a family with a lot of poverty. So I had to have a full-time job, while training, while being an honor roll student. I had a lot of sacrifices when I started early, and now as a mother I sacrifice mostly my sleep. I wake up around 4:30-5:00 in the morning to try to get some training in before the kids even wake up so I am not taking those hours away from them, because I definitely don’t want to sacrifice their time.”


On Usain Bolt’s impact on the sport of track and field...

“It’s really great all of the things that Usain Bolt has done for our sport, he’s definitely been a driving force in the popularity and the excitement around the sport.”


On popularity of track and field among youth athletes...

“There are more high school and college athletes on this [USA] team than ever before. We have a 16-year old [Sydney McLaughlin], we have 19-year olds, we have 18-year olds on this team. I think that there is a lot of excitement that is going to be surrounding these athletes in the United States, nobody has done that since Carl Lewis, so the fact that we have athletes that we can compare to Carl Lewis that are doing things as great as he did and younger than he did is something that is going to get people excited.”


“I think that there are a lot of young athletes that we can watch and then there are emerging athletes that have been around for a while but are really staking their claims, that are going on their third, or fourth, or fifth Olympics. These young athletes are ready to step up and take their places. So I think it’s something to get people excited.”


On the first few days of the Olympics…

“I usually go the last two or three days of the entire Olympic Games and it's nerve racking. Last night there were people playing at 1:00 a.m. It just comes with experience to find a way to ride the excitement when you need to and then stay relax when you need to.”


“Today,  I’m going to the gymnastics competition to watch the final, and last night I went to the basketball game and watched a very close game between us and Australia. I’m just trying to find things where I’m not tasking my body. Then at the same time I’m not getting too anxious, because you can get anxious and you can have the entire competition before you even step out on the track. So I’m trying to relax to make sure that doesn’t happen.”




Devon Allen

On 2015 injury in football...

“In 2015 I played football the next season after we won the [high school] state championships, and I had a pretty good year. But unfortunately I tore my ACL, my meniscus and my MCL, so I was out for about a year and went through rehab. I can attribute (my recovery) to my doctor and training staff for getting me back within a year. Now I am healthy and ready to compete.”


On being a two-sport athlete between track and field and football…

“Track and field is one of those things that you put in what you get out of it, and it’s more individual [focused] as far as competing. In order to do well I know that I need to work hard. In football I know that it is a team environment, and it’s a lot of fun for me, but you can’t control every game. In track and field it’s definitely something you can control more from athlete to athlete. I like that.”


On popularity between track and field and American football within the US...

“There are a lot of great football players that are out in the stadium that would be great track athletes, but they just choose different paths. It’s kind of up to the athlete’s choice. If they love one sport and they love another sport, they will just go with what they want to do.”


“A lot of U.S. athletes that are great, especially explosive and really fast that end up playing football because that’s one of the most popular sports in the US, (as compared to soccer being popular in Europe).”


On Usain Bolt’s impact on the sport of track and field...

“Being 13-years old and watching the 2008 Olympics, and being in awe with Usain Bolt, then going into the next track season, buying new spikes and wearing those, he [Bolt] has been so charismatic and good for the sport in general.”


“Like Chaunte said, there are a lot of young athletes that are coming up in the ranks and are starting to compete well, and as the years go we will find a US athlete like [Bolt] hopefully.”


On it taking a village to get to the Olympics…

“I want to thank my coach [Jamie Cook] just for being there from the beginning of my college career to being there through my injury. And all of the athletic trainers, the doctors that helped me get back from being injured [in 2015] because it definitely took a village to get me ready.”


“And my family and my friends that have always pushed me and encouraged me to be the best at whatever I do, whether it be sports or any other aspect in life. They played a big hand in what I do today. I just want to thank god too, without him none of this is possible. Recently my faith and growth in general has really helped me as an athlete and as a person. My family has really come together and put me into the Olympic spotlight, and hopefully I can come out with a gold medal on Tuesday.”


On Russian athletes not competing in the Olympics...

“As an athlete you always want to compete against the best, the defending world champion is Russian, so as a competitor it’s kind of disappointing because obviously I want to compete against them, but I will still show up and compete in the same way.”


“I can’t really say whether it’s good or bad, but I think the athletes that are here are going to compete well, and I’m just excited to compete against them.”




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