RIO DE JANEIRO – On the long trip back home, I had a chance to reflect upon the wonderful experience I had at the Rio Olympics. Team USA’s medal count was outstanding and the men’s and women’s track and field team will be remembered as one of the most accomplished ever.
We saw balanced efforts in all events areas with a slew of gold medals, gutsy performances, national records, season bests and personal bests.
Yet, what I will recall best is the people.
We had a hard-working and dedicated coaching staff that worked together every day from early in the morning until late at night. Connie Price Smith and the women’s staff worked cooperatively and collaboratively with the men’s staff at the pre-Olympic camp in Texas, the training sessions at the Navy School, the warm-up track and actual field of play at Engenhão Stadium. It was hard work but we all shared a tremendous sense of accomplishment.
The USOC and USA Track & Field staffs kept the athletes’ best interests as the focus at all times. The training facilities were meticulously maintained for each session. If a meal had to be adjusted to meet the needs of the athletes, it was done. There were no stones left unturned for any event area. The medical staff worked hard each and every session without complaint. It was a professional staff and wonderful physicians who “rolled up their sleeves” 24 hours a day. The personal coaches were cooperative, professional, accessible and responsive to every request.=
Finally, but most important, the athletes on Team USA were tough, thoughtful, cooperative and talented. Our stars performed like stars and the newcomers performed brilliantly. It was difficult to get the Star Spangled Banner tune out of my head each night! Now that I am back in Oregon awaiting the beginning of the academic year, I reflect fondly on the three weeks in Rio as one of the most awe-inspiring experiences of my life.
Thanks to the people of Rio 2016!
2016 Olympic Head Coach – Men’s Track and Field