Brittney Reese Press Conference
Q: Talk about being in the Olympics.
A: “Being in the Olympics is one of my dreams. Basically I wanted to just do it for basketball, but after coming to Ole Miss and running track it is a dream come true just to be in the Olympics. I am real grateful and happy to get a chance to go and have Coach Walker go along with me.”
Q: Has it sunk in yet that you are a United States Olympian?
A: “Right now it has sunk in and I am preparing and getting ready to compete to the best of my abilities.”
Q: How has it helped confidence wise finishing first at the Olympic Trials heading into the Olympics?
A: “Finishing first gave me a lot of confidence. Knowing I can compete with some of the best, and by me getting first and by winning first on my last jump, lets me know that I can go out there and compete and be motivated to win.”
Q: You talked about basketball being your original dream for the Olympics. Do you see yourself as a long jumper or still has a basketball player?
A: “I have set basketball aside and now I’m just a long jumper.”
Q: How did you first get into long jumping?
A: “It was my coach back at home. It was basically just a bet. I was already on the track team, I was on the 400 relay team. It was a bet to see who could jump the furthest. He offered the winner coke for whoever jumped the furthest, and I jumped the furthest and got the coke.”
Q: What do you do now for training?
A: “Right now I’m preparing with speed and working on my last two steps to get off the floor quicker. I need to reach the 23 feet jump that I need.”
Q: Talk about having the two longest jumps in the world to date.
A: “Having the two longest jumps was surprising. I didn’t know I had the longest jump when I jumped at LSU until coach told me about a week later. Right now it’s good. Hopefully I can have the number one jump and get it back from whoever has the number one jump. Hopefully I can get it either this weekend or either going into the Olympics.”
Q: What do you need to do in the Olympics for you to have the success that you want?
A: “To have the success that I want I need to be quick off the board, drive my knee more and work a little bit more on my landing. It should be there.”
Q: What is your goal? What would you be happy coming back with?
A: “I will be happy with a medal. It doesn’t have to be the gold medal. Just knowing that I made it there is already pleasing. I am going to go out there and do the best I can and try to medal even if it is the gold.”
Q: What is next for you training? Are there any meets for you?
A: “I am leaving on Saturday to go to
Q: Any family or friends going with you to the Olympics?
A: “My mom, one of my aunts and Coach Walker will be attending.”
Q: How long will you be in
A: “I will be in
Q: What are the challenges that you will be facing when you go to
A: “No when I was in
Q: What have you heard about
A: “I heard about the heat, but I don’t think it is that bad considering living in
Q: What kind of advice have you been receiving on going to
A: “Just keep my head up, don’t get a big head and just go out there and be me.”
Q: Talk about your technique.
A: “It’s both arms in the air and pulling your legs through.”
Q: Talk about your decision to go professional.
A: “Coach Walker and I talked about it. I accomplished a lot during my junior year so we figured it was the right time, it was a tough decision because I am a team player and I like to be on a team. Now I have to ride solo but it was just the right time for me to go.”
Q 18: Will you concentrate strictly on the long jump now that you are a professional?
A: “I am going to do a little bit of sprinting, but just the 100 meters.”
Q: Talk about Brittney’s work ethic and what makes her so special.
A: “She really is special. Anybody that can achieve these type things is a special person. Everybody knows that. She just really brings so many things to the table. God blessed her with amazing athletic ability. She’s very young in the sport. She’s two years in the sport other than the high school career. She’s just beginning to comprehend and learn what she needs to do. You can see how much she has advanced from a year ago to now. She made the World Championship team this time last year, but this time last year she had not jumped over 22 feet. This year she has gone over 22 feet 12 or 13 times. She has gone over the 6.80 meter mark, which is a significant mark, seven times. So she’s really improved. What probably makes her special in my mind is how easy she is to coach and how humble she is as a human being and how fierce she is as a competitor. Sometimes you get either or, or you get somebody who is a nice person who doesn’t have the grit or the grind or whatever you want to describe it to be tough in a competitive situation. Brittney is very humble and a very easy to talk to person, but yet a very fierce competitor. She handles pressure very well. She told me the other night that the Olympic Trials were the most pressure she has ever been under, and yet you saw how she handled it. That’s what makes her so special. It’s a combination of the intangibles and then the God-given ability.”
Q: What did you vision for Brittney when you first met her? Talk about how her career has gone over the last five years that you have known her.
A: “I think anybody that saw Brittney knew that she had a lot of talent. I think anybody that says they could predict this future would just be lying. She’s come quicker and faster than I expected or anticipated, and she’s got a lot more to give. If she can stay injury-free, she’s got a great 10 or 11 more years, and you will see a lot more great performances out of her. She is very young in the sport, and she is doing very well.”
Q: What kind of experience will Brittney get competing internationally as she enters the world stage?
A: “One of the things in our sport is that it would not be good to compete for a month and a half, so where the meets are right now are in
Q: What events did you see in Brittney when you first met her?
A: “We knew that she was a really good jumper. We recruited her as a jumper, and thought she had good speed, but she had better speed than we anticipated. She made the NCAA in the 60 meter dash, but we didn’t participate in that. She ran it a couple of times indoors, and then she had a couple of tight quads muscle outdoor that caused us not to sprint her like we participated. She did anchor our relay, which ran really well, and had some relay legs there where you could see her great speed. I think that is something that we will develop in the future. I always had a very patient aggressive approach toward Brittney. I always thought of it as a four or five year plan because she was so new to the sport and so new to what we were doing. We’ve not tried to milk everything out of her at one time. It’s been a very patient aggressive approach to let her feel her way through this big time situation, and she’s handled it very well.”
Q: Are you going to
A: “It will help a lot, and I’m going with her to
Q: Being two years in the sport, how big of an accomplishment is this for her making the Olympic team?
A: “I think it’s just phenomenal. With Brittney, it’s easy to get complacent. You get used to her winning, but I guess that is a good thing. At
Q: What does this mean for Ole Miss?
A: “I would think that people would understand that this is one of the things at the top of the line athletically. It’s hard to compare sports. To have an Ole Miss athlete, a Mississippi athlete, a homegrown athlete make the U.S. Olympic team and have a chance to medal and be doing the things she is doing and the way she is representing us, is just a positive for Ole Miss, for Gulfport, Mississippi, for the state of Mississippi and for young people in general because she is such a outstanding role model and person to represent us.”
Q: Is it unheard of to see such a vast amount of improvement in two years like Brittney has?
A: “Well, I guess that is what I am most proud of as a coach was that I was a good steward of God’s talent because he gave me a lot to work with. She has improved from 20-08.00 in high school to 22-09.75, and we think that the 23 foot mark is going to come soon. It has been a fun ride. I’m convinced that we are at the tip of the iceberg and not the end of it. I think you are going to see her jump farther and farther as she gets stronger and learns the event more, matures a bit athletically and mentally. I think good things are ahead.”
Q: Do you know much about the field, and will Brittney be considered one of the favorites?
A: “She’s got the third longest jump in the world right now. There are three Russians, a Portuguese, a Brazilian and a couple of people like that. There are probably six, seven or eight people that have a chance of medaling. It’s similar to the Olympic Trials in that it depends on who is going to show up that day and put everything together. I like Brittney’s chances just as good as anybody’s. One of the things that Brittany and I emphasize a lot, which she listens well, is that we are trying to be Brittany Reese. We are not worried about the Russians, Brazilians or Portuguese. We can’t run a defense, so we can’t beat anybody that way, so it’s all about Brittney Reese. If Brittney can go over there and compose herself, then Brittney will be in good shape.”
Q: What were you told about Brittney from previous coaches when Brittney was coming to Ole Miss?
A: “Coach Jones did a good job with her in high school. Coach Jones knew she was a good athlete. He has been a great friend, coach and mentor to her, so again, anything that you hear about Brittney from anybody is going to be positive.”
Q: What kind of jump will Brittney need to medal at the Olympics?
A: “A lot depends on what the jumping conditions are. The 22-09.75 at
Q: What is the qualifying process?
A: “We went through the same thing at the U.S. Olympic Trails, which is very good. Some of the events weren’t the same as they would be at the Olympics, but the long jump was. There would be what they call long jump qualifying, and they will simply take the top 12 marks. There will be an automatic standard, and if you get that on your first jump, second jump, third jump, you’re automatically in the meet. Usually there aren’t 12 that hit the automatic, so they take the 12 best. Then two days later, she will jump. She jumps on the 19th and 22nd of August. That was the same way it was at the Olympic Trials. It took three jumps to guarantee she was in, and for nerves and emotions, it would have been good to hit the automatic first. I was just glad that we got three runs on the runway because I knew the wind conditions were going to be a little different, and that gave us a chance to learn and adjust. She handled it very well.”
Q: Brittney has said that she has been working on her last two steps over recent weeks. How is that coming along?
A: “Everything is getting better. She is getting better each time. Her final jump the other day was obviously her best jump, and it was her best technical jump. The long jump seems to be a simple event, but there are so many factors that go into a jump. You have to be fast down the runway, accurate and hit those last two steps because that is what sets up the angle that you are going. Once you leave the board, your center of mass has a parabola that it follows just according to the laws of physics. You do a little bit in the air that helps you from over-rotating when you land. That’s why the speed on the runway and the last two steps are critical.”
Q: How do you handle your excitement when coaching an Olympian? Has it always felt the same for each Olympian?
A: “I’ve been very fortunate and been very lucky to have athletes that I’ve coached to be in the Olympics from 1976 until now, except 2004. Savante’ (Stringfellow) probably would have made that team, but was injured. Brittney’s rejuvenated me. I’m probably more excited about this one than any other one except ’76 since that was my very first one with Larry Myricks from
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