Third-place Bennett calls performance a disappointment, not a failure


Amber James
Special to USATF
USA Track & Field

Kameisha Bennett finished third Monday night in the Women's 800m final and was fourth at the 2004 Olympic Trials, just missing a spot on the Olympic Team both years. But considering what this mother of two has been through in the past three years, her performance in Eugene is impressive.

In the semis on Saturday, four runners went down, Bennett being one of them. Fault was not allotted to any athlete and all four women were allowed to advance to the final as a result. After the 2004 Olympic Trials, where Bennett missed qualifying for the Olympic team by a place, she made the 2005 USA World Outdoor Championships Team, but in Helsinki her shoe fell off during her preliminary race and she didn't finish. After having a son, Darius, Bennett discovered in 2006 that Darius had autism. With her degree in Child and Family Studies from the University of Tennessee, Bennett wanted to get him the best therapy possible.

Further complicating her training opportunities was the fact that she broke a big toe around the same time, preventing her from competing even if she had wanted to. "I couldn't do a lot," she said.

Though Bennett placed third in the final Monday night, she did not achieve the Olympic A-standard qualifying time of 2:00.00 to make it on the Olympic team; she ran 2:01.20. Nicole Teter, who placed fourth in the finals with a time of 2:02.30, but ran an A-standard qualifying time last year, will be the third member of the USA Women's 800m team in addition to Hazel Clark and Alice Schmidt. When asked why she didn't seem too upset about not making the team, Bennett said, "I've been through a lot, this is minor to me, this is not everything. I see there are more things to life besides track so it's a disappointment, but not a failure."

One of the important things in Bennett's life is that she had another baby last year. Her youngest son, Devon, is 16 months old. Bennett said, "I gained a ton of weight and it was really hard. I mean for me to run 2:01.20 today is really good and who knows, miracles can happen. I mean two days ago I thought my Olympic dream was completely over and I was actually able to make the team by getting third, but not getting the A-standard so I'm happy with that right now. I got fourth in 2004 so to get in the top 3 is great."

Supporting Bennett during her competitions was her husband, Miami Dolphins starting tight end David Martin. Their two sons were home asleep in Miami with Bennett's mother-in-law. Bennett, says, "I might not be going [to the Olympics] but that's fine because everything happens for a reason. I'm just going to take it day by day. I know I can run faster than 2:01." Bennett's career best is 1:59.99.

Bennett runs for Nike and her accolades include being the 2005 USA Outdoor Championships silver medalist; third at the 2005 USA Indoor Championships; fourth at the 2004 Olympic Trials; and 2004 NCAA Outdoor runner-up.