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USATF Quotes: Christian Taylor, Allyson Felix and Brittney Reese press conference

8/10/2016
 

In anticipation of the 2016 Olympic Games, USATF held a press conference in Rio de Janeiro with defending gold medalists Christian Taylor (triple jump), Brittney Reese (long jump) and Allyson Felix (4x100m, 4x400m and 200m).


Below are highlights:


CHRISTIAN TAYLOR

 

On 2015 season…

“2015 was a blessed year, I had a game changing year for myself. I had incredible competition in Pablo Pichardo from Cuba, he set the bar really high in jumping 18 meters. I’m a competitor, so he pushed me to raise my game and level and fortunately I was able to regain my title in Beijing.”

 

On potentially breaking the World record…

“Personally, it took me so long because it’s such an amazing feat. You know, 60 feet isn’t easy. It took a special guy to do it, and I am here today because I think that I can do it, and that’s what drives me every day.”

 

“A medal would be great, but coming out with a record is a win-win.”

 

On message to fans about the sport of track and field…

“This is the most exciting time to watch track and field. I feel like it’s the changing of the guards... I felt like a veteran when I went into team processing and you can see newer faces coming and I think it’s very exciting that the college kids are stepping up.”

 

“It’s very exciting that we have athletes in high school like Candace Hill who are running phenomenal times, so if you want to do a sport this is the time to get into track and field.”

 

On technical changes to technique…

“After London [2012 Olympic Games], I switched my jumping leg, which seemed a bit foolish at the beginning but I have now been able to jump further and set the American record.”

 

“I was having a lot of patella issues with my left knee and it just got to the point where I was competing, but I was just kind of going through the motions. I was really focusing on coming out of competitions healthy instead of being able to challenge the world record, which I have my eye on now.”

 

“I’m very blessed and I have a phenomenal coach in (Reider) who really believes in me. But I always say switching legs is like going with the opposite hand, it’s a lot of coordination and a lot of timing and muscle development.”

 

“In 2013, I didn’t even make the podium in Moscow. I just had to rethink my training and relearn the event. The biggest thing was timing.”

 

On mental state entering 2016 Olympic Games as compared to 2012 Olympics…

“A lot has changed since 2012. I am the defending World Champion going in, so I think that’s a part of my confidence going into the Olympic Games, but my hunger, my fire and my passion is still the same.”

 

On being pushed in competition…

“The season is good because you get a feeling of where everyone is, but anything can happen at championships. I have to prepare mentally and physically for someone to do something crazy.”

 

“One thing my coach and I have really dialed in on this entire month is being ready to respond. Being ready to respond is my mentality.”

 

“Pichardo hasn’t jumped all year but he’s declared to compete here and he can open up the competition at 18 meters. These are the things I am keeping in mind, and I’d love if somebody would raise the bar because I want to get this [World] record also.”

 

“I always talk about being an entertainer, because people are paying good money, so why not put on a show.”

 

“I don’t think I could be a sprinter because you only have one chance, we have six so I am very grateful for that.”

 

Challenges entering Olympic Games…

“To do back-to-back is very difficult. It beats your body up; this is why I had to switch legs myself. So I think the biggest challenge to be a triple jumper is staying healthy.”

 

“I get so excited about breaking records and going somewhere no one has gone yet. I wasn’t the first to go over 18 meters but maybe I can be (the first) able defend the Olympic title.”

 

On athletes testing positive in drug testing...

I’m 100 percent behind the World Anti-Doping Agency [WADA] and the US Anti-Doping Agency [USADA]. There are a lot of different organizations that are doing their job and doing their diligence. The rules are the rules. We’re here to compete and that’s what we’re focusing on.”

 

“Team USA is as strong as it ever been, I am 100% backing the anti-doping movement.”


BRITTNEY REESE


On what it will take to break a record…

“For me and my mental coach we came up with this idea called 3-in-1, so that’s to win the Olympics, break the American record, and break the World record all in one. So that’s something that I am gunning for, I know that the Olympic record is 7.52 meters. I know that I am capable of it, I just need the right atmosphere and the right crowd and do my part.”


On transition from 2013 injury…

“I tore my hip labrum in 2013 and I had surgery. Once I came off of surgery I thought I was ok, but I kind of rushed into it a little bit and just tried to get back out there and do what I love. But these past two years I have grown a lot from the injury and have learned a lot.”


“I was telling myself at times that I was going to be tired. Once I started talking to a mental coach everything has been put together and I have been having a great year.”


On approach to competitions after her hip injury…

“I can finally extend a little further than I have been able to in the past years, and I have worked really hard on my landing. I feel like the landing was one of the most critical parts of my jumps, and I feel like once I got that together everything else would just fall into place.”


On pressure during competition…

“It’s just me going out there and having fun. I don’t feel any pressure. I know what I am capable of so I know if go out there and do what I am supposed to do everything else will just fall into place.”


On being a mother…

“I had to learn that I am always going to have a shadow, I had to be on my P’s and Q’s with him [her son]. It has tremendously changed my life.”


“It’s tough because I homeschool him in the morning, then I have my own practice, and I’m also an assistant coach at Mason Community College. So I had to be smart with myself and make sure I get therapy and things like that with him. So he was always in the background.”


On mental switch in preparation for Olympics…

“I started talking to a psychologist from October to now, we have worked on setting goals and being more focused on the runway and not worrying about the past.”


“I feel like the hip injury really messed me up because I know what I am capable of and to see myself in that component, and to see myself not make a final, and to see myself not even jump 7 meters really put myself in a bad position. I am a competitor, I like to win and I was losing, so that was something that I didn’t like. So it put me in a bad position to where I thought that I was going to retire.”


“Once I started talking to my psychologist we started doing a lot of things to get the mind a little bit better and have me think of more positive thoughts throughout the year has been the key to my success this season.”


On watching the success of the American women athletes at the Rio Olympics…

“It’s great to see the women get involved and dominate in the same way that we did four years ago. I feel like track will be able to handle business the same way.”



ALLYSON FELIX


On progression coming into the Olympics...

I’ve made a lot of progress since trials. Just excited to be here, things are going well. I am feeling a lot better than I was at trials, so just grateful to be here again and ready to compete.

 

On crossing the finish line knowing you made the team…

“Trials was just so demanding physically and emotionally and it was especially rough on me this time, so I was able to get through. Going into it I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to make the team so for it to come together was so special and yeah I was really happy.”

 

On differences of entering her fourth Olympic Games...

“Each time it’s kind of been a different experience for me. I'm running a new distance so there are a lot of different challenges for me but I’m excited to use my experience over the years and just try to get it done again.”

                                                                                                                                            

On physical and mental changes made throughout the season...

“I feel a lot better than at trials, so I’m feeling close to normal. I had some issues with recovery but those are under control. I have my team of physical therapist from home and my chiropractor and   massage therapist helping me through all that stuff, so I’m confident that I can be close to the best and I differently had to refocus. I was disappointed with my 200 [meter] performance at trials, but I just had to put everything in perspective of what happened to me this year, and just be grateful to even be on the Olympic team and go after this new challenge.”

 

On expected rivalry in the 400 meter and the 4x400 relays with Team Jamaica …

“We always have a great rivalry. I think this year is no different. I think we are excited to get back out there and compete. We always bring out the best in each other and it is especially fun when it comes to the relays because it’s been back and forth so much over the years, and so it’s a highlight for us. We are looking forward to it and I think that it will be another great showdown.”

 

On the influence of Jackie Joyner-Kersee and husband Bobby…

“I actually don’t really think about things like that going in to championships. Jackie has been an amazing person in my life along with Bobby, but she has just been a mentor to me. She has always throughout my career encouraged and helped me, but especially this year.”


“Every time something new would happen, that would come up from I don’t know where, Jackie was the first person calling, supporting, and encouraging me. To even be anywhere in the same breath as Jackie is amazing. You know, all her medals were all individual and I have a lot of relays stuff going on, so to me I could never be in Jackie’s category. I’m just excited for this opportunity and thankful that I’m  able to have Jackie in my life and throughout majority of my career.”

 

On not being able to defend 200m title…

“Yeah I’m disappointed. It’s definitely heartbreaking for me not to be there, it is my favorite race.  I wish this year would have gone differently for me but that’s just a part of sports. Some things you have to deal with, and I just had to regroup and keep moving on.”


“Of course I’ll watch [the 200m race] and it will be difficult [to watch] because I would have loved to defend my title and I would love see where I map in the 200m... But that’s not the case so it’s obviously going to be a great race, there is a lot of talent in there but It will be tough for me to watch.”

 

On her training for the 400m and 200m...

“I don’t feel that training for two [events] took my attention away from one or the other. The training kind of goes hand and hand.”


“I always have trained from a 400 base and it helps my 200 and I do a lot of speed work. I think that the 400 and 200 is a double that is more common to do and so I think had things gone differently, the training situation was alright.”

 

USATF Communications

Communications@usatf.org


 



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