Brianna is no stranger to the pages of PreraceJitters.com. As a matter of fact, she is a regular via her blog, which is a fan favorite with laugh out loud funny entries about the goings on in her so-called fabulous life in track and field.
The sprinter and long jumper has hurdled, run around, and gotten under all of the obstacles that could have potentially kept her from the Olympic Trials. If there was test for persistence, Brianna would pass with flying colors regardless of the outcome at the Trials where she will focus on the long jump in her journey to make the Olympic Team.
With less than a week before the Olympic Trials, we caught up with Brianna and here is what she had to say:
PRJ: Your blog is wildly successful. The sport has struggled to attract new fans in large numbers. Your larger readership is made up of hardcore track fans and people who know generally about track but maybe have not followed the sport closely. So what do you make of all of this?
BG: I think it’s awesome. I didn’t really start a blog with the hopes that I would reach a whole lot of people that I didn’t already know…it was more so for my friends and family to keep up with me. But it turns out that a lot of people I have never met read it as well as people who have never previously been big fans of track and field. Whatever their reasons are for stopping by, I am just happy that they find enough interest in what I do to continue to check back and hopefully in the process they can learn to appreciate the sport I love.
PRJ: What if anything have you learned from readers since you began blogging and where do you see your athlete blog going in the future?
BG: There is a lot you can gain from putting yourself out there in the blog world. For the most part people are very encouraging and supportive, which is such an amazing bonus to it all. Not only do people take the time to comment on what is going on in my life, but I constantly get emails and messages that are incredibly uplifting or just to say they appreciate a certain picture…which is also very flattering!
PRJ: Did you have any role models when you started competing?
BG: I have always been a huge fan of Jackie Joyner-Kersee. She is one of the greatest athletes of all time and she did it with the utmost grace and humility.
PRJ: When did you first realize that you wanted to sprint and jump?
BG: When I was younger I was always involved in sports, just not track. I knew I was fast but it wasn’t until high school when I actually saw where my talent was and that I was meant to sprint and jump. So I ran with it. Literally.
PRJ: After last season your life ran like a Hollywood movie—only in reverse. You changed coaches and packed up and moved from Los Angeles to Tucson where you had a great deal of success during your time at the University of Arizona. How has the overall move worked out for you so far?
BG: I am no stranger to moving and switching coaches. I always do what I feel is best for my career at the time and this year it made sense for me to go back to working with my coach from college, someone I trusted immensely. Trusting your coach is a huge piece of the puzzle and as much as I loved living in LA, it was a small sacrifice to make. Being out here has allowed me to focus and prepare how I needed to.
PRJ: Do you have a good chance to qualify? If so, what do you feel you need to do in order make sure you get an airline ticket to perform in Beijing?
BG: This year the field in the women's long jump is stronger than it's
been in quite some time. We have a number of women who are capable of
jumping far and getting on that team and I definitely see myself in
that mix. I think the great competition among us will push us all to
jump far and to produce some great marks. I have a feeling that if I
jump what I am capable of jumping I will definitely be on the team.
My focus is on jumping well and when that happens the results will
fall into place.
PRJ: The pressing matter on everyone’s mind in track and field is the pending Olympic Trials. You have recently had knee surgery and are back to working out. How is your knee and physical conditioning going into the trials?
BG: This is 2008. Everyone knows what the deal is this year and where the focus is. My knee surgery was most definitely a setback but there was nothing that was going to keep me out of the Trials in my mind. I told the doctor he could duct tape it together if necessary but one way or another, I would be out there. I’ve healed quickly enough to give myself a great opportunity in Eugene and that is all I can really ask for.
PRJ: There has been a huge build up to the Olympic Trials. Do you feel any pressure heading into Eugene?
BG: It’s exciting. Sure, it’s a pressure filled situation because we all know what’s on the line, but you have to embrace the opportunity.
PRJ: Is there one thing in particular you're looking forward to if you get to Beijing?
BG: I’m looking forward to competing with USA written across my chest.
PRJ: Are you anxious about anything outside of competition that you're going to encounter in China? I've heard about some non-traditional toilets.
BG: Track athletes do a lot of squats so we will be ok. I’m looking forward to some authentic orange chicken and shrimp fried rice. Whatever we encounter, I’m sure we will embrace it all.
PRJ: Thank you for making time in your busy schedule to speak with us. Good luck in your efforts at the Olympics Trials and the remainder of your season.
By Jay Hicks.