A month or so ago I did an email interview with US Olympic Hurdler, Damu Cherry-Mitchell after exchanging “tweets” with her on Twitter. I had posted about Kayla Williams winning vault at the World Championships and Damu shared the congratulations. That led to an email conversation and the opportunity to share a little more about Damu Cherry-Mitchell and her experiences as a youth athlete and now an Olympic athlete with my readers.
And now, in Damu's own words:
DC: “First I want to say the God is the reason why I am here and able to do what I do! Without God none of this would be possible! I am a world class 100 meter hurdler for the USA and Nike. I am a 2008 Olympian where I finished 4th. My personal best is 12.44 and my goal is to qualify for the 2012 Olympic team. I have been a professional for 7 years now. Thank you for your interest and I hope that I may be a blessing to others!”
SGP: How old were you when you started competing?
DC: I actually started competing when I was 10 years old as a gymnast! I started competing in track n high school when I was 16 years old.
SGP: Did you play other sports when you were younger?
DC: I was a gymnast for 7 years
SGP: Do you do other sports for recreation or cross-training?
DC: No, I do not do other sports because the demands of being a professional/world class athlete takes up most of my time and days!
SGP: What is your biggest challenge you have overcome?
DC: My biggest challenge is learning the technical aspect of hurdling! The 100 meter hurdles is a very technical event and it takes years to grasp.
SGP: What are your biggest challenges in practice?
DC: In practice my biggest challenge is making sure I pretend I am in a meet scenario because sometimes I tend to relax too much and when you are on an elite level you have to go above and beyond to reach your goals.
SGP: Do you like competing? How do you channel your nerves?
DC: I love competing! I know that as long as I put the work in in practice I rarely have nerves! I use a lot of visualization so I can prepare my mind for the big day!
SGP: How many hours a day do you train?
DC: A typical day would be three to four hours of running/weight workouts! The rest of the day is filled with massage, chiropractic, acupuncture and stretching! Usually, my day starts at 9am and ends 5pm.
SGP: What is your favorite way to reward yourself for achieving your goals?
DC: Since our track season is so long I usually wait until our time off to reward myself which would include shopping, little junk food! I get one month off in October to have some fun and just rest!
SGP: What is your advice for young athletes?
DC: Always set goals for yourself and make sure everyday counts. Everyday isn't a good day but take something positive out of the day and grow from it! Never give up and always expect to be great!
SGP: Who is your biggest role model?
DC: My biggest role model is my mother who is a cancer survivor! She fought through tough times and never gave up on herself and now she enjoys the benefits of traveling the world watching me compete! I think of her when I am having a bad day at practice or if I am tired in a run and she gives me that extra I need to push a little harder!
We hope you enjoyed this interview!