Olympic star Queen Harrison discusses preparation for 2016 games


Queen Harrison surprised the nation when she made the 2008 Olympics as a 19-year-old. Harrison wasn’t heavily recruited out of high school and eventually became an Olympic hurdler and the first woman to win two NCAA titles in the same year.

Due to an injury, she missed out on the 2012 Olympic Games in London. But now armed with more experience and focus, Harrison is prepared to conquer the 2016 Olympics.

Harrison recently spoke with rolling out about her Olympic experience and preparation for the 2016 games.

Let’s go back to 2008. How did it feel to be the youngest person to make the track and field team? 

I was surprised that I made the Olympic team. I had a great pre-season and was running well. I pulled my hamstring during training. But I rehabbed like crazy and I went out there and made the team. I was able to leave it all on the track.

What do you remember most about the opening ceremony?

I didn’t participate in the opening ceremony. My training facility was miles away from the  opening ceremony, so my coach advised that I stay focused and prepare. But watching it on TV, I was so upset. I knew that I should’ve [gone] because it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience. But at the end of the day, it wasn’t meant for me to be there. However, I did attend the closing ceremony, so that was great to be there and see different countries and the fellowship.

How did you feel about your final results at the 2008 games?

When I competed in the Olympics, I was only 19 years old. I was in China by myself and I didn’t know anyone.  It got to me a bit. I made it out of the preliminaries and the semifinals, but I failed to make the final. I know that I could have done better. I’ve matured since then. I’ve been to two world championships [2011, 2013] and I’m training for the 2016 games.

What advice do you have for young people who are seeking to achieve an important goal?

The big things I think about is the importance of sacrifice. I’m a big family person. But I have to train in South Carolina and my family lives in New York and Virginia. I want to go home every weekend, but in order to reach my goals, I have to sacrifice. When you’re young, you want to hang with friends and party. But when you reach your goal, there is more than enough time to do that later.

A.R. Shaw
A.R. Shaw

A.R. Shaw is an author and journalist who documents culture, politics, and entertainment. He has covered The Obama White House, the summer Olympics in London, and currently serves as Lifestyle Editor for Rolling Out magazine. Follow his journey on Twitter @arshaw and Instagram @arshaw23.

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