Longhorns Olympic Trials Q&A: Michelle Carter
June 5, 2012
Michelle Carter made her first Olympic team in 2008 after she won the 2008 Olympic Trials with a personal-best throw in the shot put. Following, Carter's decorated career with Texas Women's Track and Field, that was hardly a surprise.
Carter became UT's first NCAA Indoor shot put champion since 1994 when she won the national title in 2006, and she also finished second at both the 2005 NCAA Indoor and Outdoor Championships.
Carter is the national prep record-holder in the shot put, while her father, Michael, set the still-standing national boys prep record of in 1979. She was a four-time Texas UIL 4A state champion in the shot put, and also set state record in the discus.
She recently visited with TexasSports.com about her pursuit for another Olympics team.
What memory did you have of watching the Olympics? My first time watching the Olympics was the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. I was able to attend the event with my family because my godfather was competing. The moment I remember from that Olympics was Robert Weir throwing the discus and hammer.
When did it become a dream to represent the United States at the Olympics? It was not yet a dream after watching the Olympics in 1996 because I had just started throwing in summer track. I thought it was cool to be there in the atmosphere, not realizing where I was and what was going on. In 2004, that was my freshman year in college, and I decided not to go to the Olympics but to try out for the World Junior team. I made that team and went to Italy. The Olympics where going on at the same time that I was in Italy, and I remember coming home from my trip watching the film of the Olympics that my dad recorded for me. I remember the emotions I felt when I watching the meet and thinking I should have been there. I threw far enough that I could have competed, but I did not want my first time trying out for the Olympics to be a negative experience. I felt like I was not mentally ready at that age, so I went for the junior team. But watching the film, I felt that I passed up and opportunity to be in Greece competing. That is when I decided that the Olympics was something I really wanted to do.
When did it become a goal to compete in the London Olympics? In 2008, when I made my first time I knew I was coming back for 2012. There was no doubt in my mind that I wanted to come back. After my first experience of getting 12th, I knew that I could do better and I wanted to make sure that I did everything that I can to get ready for the next Olympics.
My ultimate goal is to win the Olympic Trails and to win the gold medal at the Olympics.
UT is very well represented in the Olympics, does this provide extra motivation to you? Yeah, that is one of the first things that I realized when I made the team in 2008. Especially for the track team, half of the staff was from the University of Texas. The trainer (LaGwyn Durden) was part of the staff that year and she is again on this year. It makes you feel at home. And last Olympics, (Men's Track and Field head coach) Bubba Thornton was the head coach, so it was very familiar and comfortable for me. I don't ever feel too home sick or down because there is always somebody that I know I can go back to from UT. It is home. It helps out a lot.
What memories do you have from your prior Olympic visit? It is so exciting. The atmosphere is so energetic that you cannot help but to want to do great there. The first time I went it was a bit overwhelming because there were so many great athletes and so much going on. I had to remember to stay focused on what I was doing. But when I realized that everyone was there for one reason, one goal that was to win or medal, it motivated me to see others who worked just as hard as I did for what they love to do regardless of the sport. It is nice to see. When you see someone training hard, it makes you want to train hard. I really enjoyed that. I enjoyed seeing athletes from all over the world coming together to do great things for their sport.
In the previous visit, I was fresh out of college, no one really knew who I was, but over the years I think I have established my self as a top contender. I have been moving up slowing but surely in the rankings with my distances. This year, with the shot put you are going to see some people in the finals or at the top that you have not seen before because everyone in the sport had to step their game up. It is going to make the sport every interesting.