This week, we bring you Hurdler Brianna Rollins, who won Gold emphatically in Rio. She tells us about her track career and what goes on behind the scenes!
Where does your love for the track and specifically hurdles come from?
It started in high school when I joined my first track and field team, I had always grown up racing the other kids in the neighbourhood and people said I was fast.
You had a surreal 2016, smashed it at Rio, how fulfilling was it to win Gold in the 100m hurdles and get a US clean sweep?
It was a great feeling, especially to be able to share it with my team mates, I was so grateful that I was able to accomplish one of the biggest things in the sport. I felt blessed and I am so happy because at the end of the day, we train every day and then the Olympics arrives every four years, but not everyone can make the team. I was blessed with a gold medal. My hard work paid off!
Has your life changed a lot since then, have you noticed your profile increased?
I just get on with my regular life as I was before, at the beginning there was a lot of attention after winning the gold, especially when I went back home to Miami. I went to my high school which was an exciting experience, but I’ve just been living my regular life, there’s nothing new.
What do you reckon you’d be doing right now if you hadn’t made it as a pro athlete? Got any second careers lying around?
I think about that a lot, what would I do be doing? I don’t know but I have a lot of things that I enjoy and would like to do, to pursue later in life. Who knows.
You’ve recently had the frustrating news of being given a ban, because of mix-ups with your testing. How’s your mindset?
I am up and down with my emotions, but at the end of the day I’ve become content with where I am because this opportunity has given me the time and space that I need to work on myself as a person without having the pressure of competing in track and field. Us as people, we struggle because we have to keep our careers at the forefront and you can forget about yourself, right now it’s pushing my faith up and I have become more at peace in myself and happy. I just want peace and joy in my life and I think that this opportunity has given me that.
Has your faith been tested with this recent ban?
It’s kind of like that, at first I was thinking why me? But you have to ask yourself, why not me? We are all human beings and anything can happen to us. I do feel that God has put me in this position for a better purpose and hopefully when this is over and I am getting ready to compete next year, I will have a lighter weight on myself and run freely.
Is it now just a case of training hard and trying to keep that motivation, or will you have some down time?
Right now, I am still doing a little bit of training, I don’t want to put too much pressure on myself but I am most importantly going to take care of my body. Before I even found out the news I was already battling a few injuries so now I have time to sit back, relax and take care of my mind.
Tokyo 2020 is a long way off yet, but are you already casting your mind forward, raring to go?
Most definitely, of course I am looking forward to the next Olympics, I feel a little bit older and mature so hopefully I will put less pressure on myself. I am honestly excited about Tokyo, it’s one of the greatest places to have the games.
Let’s talk about your faith, at what point did you find God?
It was actually in 2013, I have always grown up in the church and I was in a choir when I was younger, but in terms of having a personal relationship with God it wasn’t until the beginning of 2013. I always believed but never pursued him, but once I did it opened so many more doors and I felt limitless. That was the greatest feeling that I’ve ever had and it’s about knowing that he is in control, regardless of any situation I might be in. I will be ok if I have faith in him. Just having that security is the best feeling ever.
People can often say, Brianna you have it all, you’ve got success, a career that you love, bagging Gold medals. Why do you need God?
God is all of my success, he has given me the success, so I can’t say that it’s down to me alone, It’s my hard work and dedication but his power. He will provide for my every need, the track is my sanctuary.
How much of what you do in the sport, on that track, is built on prayer? Is that what fuels you?
Yes, give him all of the glory because it if wasn’t for him I wouldn’t be here, I just keep meditating on his scriptures before every competition I compete in.