Six centimeters. 2.36 inches.
That is how agonizingly close I was to reaching my goal of making an Olympic Team.
While not making an Olympic Team does not define me, it is still hard to grasp how little that difference really is, and that this small distance kept me thousands of miles from where I wanted to be this past summer. I gave everything I had and fought hard, but it was just not enough for that day. Although it was a victory to come back from the previous year of a “no mark,” it was still difficult to accept that something I had dreamed about since I had first started track was just not going to happen at this time. I couldn’t bring myself to watch a lot of the Rio coverage because my feelings were just too raw. After taking some time off to really evaluate what I wanted to do, it became clear that I wanted to try one more time to go after making Team USA.
This adversity and disappointment is partially what drove me to compete another season.
I still feel like there is more I can give to the sport and that I am so close to reaching my full potential. As I was walking off the field at the completion of the Olympic Trials Finals, one of the collegiate athletes came up to me and gave me a hug. The first thing she said to me was, “You light up everyone around you, especially when you compete, and you inspire everyone to do their best”. These words made me tear up more than processing that I was not going to Rio. But then it hit me that I am defined by more than just one moment, and that I contribute to the sport and those around me in more ways than I sometimes even realize. I grew in a lot in the last year from changing my technique, to starting a fundraiser even though it’s so hard for me to ask for money, to discovering that I brought so many people together in support of my journey. I now realize that this insight is almost more valuable to me than making any team during my career. So, this year, I want to do the season for me and for those people that have helped me along the way. To show that once again, I am a determined individual who can inspire those around me (including the next generation of talented throwers).
My journey really started in 2012 when I tried to make the Olympic Team for London and placed 5th, and it seems fitting to potentially end my career trying to make the 2017 World Team in the same location. Despite finishing fourth at the Olympic Trials, I found out recently I will not receive any funding this year from USA Track & Field. This includes high performance meets (like the one that I am currently attending while writing this letter) meaning that I will have to cover all expenses out of my own pocket. I still have some big meets coming up, including the USA Track & Field Championship in Sacramento this June. I would like to help get my coach up there to help optimize my performance, as well as my ART specialist that keeps my body healthy. Furthermore, there are everyday training expenses that I continue to cover which puts a lot of stress on my budget.
Last year I was so humbled by all those that supported me financially, prayerfully, and emotionally, so I am asking for this help again. As I stated in the past, I have a really hard time asking for help, especially when it comes to money, but I am always working on pushing my comfort zone.
In fact, I would not be pursuing my dream if I was not brave.
Every little bit helps me get closer to my goal because I realize cannot do it on my own and it will also ease the stress of the financial challenges of being an elite athlete in an event that does not garner a lot of attention or financial gain. Please consider helping me get to that final stage of walking out onto the field in London and know that I visualize it every day!
Thank you for your support and prayers,