In this interview, '96 Olympic Gold Medal Hurdler Derrick Adkins reflects fondly on his career while providing key insights on what it takes to achieve at the Olympic level as a
consultant with NY's Armory Track, a premiere running facility.
been at this position?
A. I've been working at the Armory Track & Field Center since 2006. I was Director of
Track & Field and Educational Development from 2006-2011. Now, I serve part-time as an advisor and consultant to the Foundation primarily assisting the with Armory College Prep program which helps NYC student-athletes with their academic and athletic goals.
We help mostly first-generation college student prospects obtain admission to
college with either scholarships and/or grants. We want them to take out as little money in loans as possible.
Q2. How and when should a young athlete access the services here?
A. Interested students in NYC or surrounding areas should show up in person between 3pm and 7pm on any given Tuesday or Thursday to enroll. They can also call our current director, Aliann Pompey at 212-923-1803 ext. 7017 for questions. However, we are no longer able to take 12th graders for the rest of this academic year. Ninth through eleventh graders are welcome to apply.
The only requirement is that they run track. If they don't run track, we ask that they join their high school track team. If their high school does not have a track team, we can
help them find a track club to join.
Q3. Can you share any success stories of people who have
A. Here are three testimonies:
Some earn track scholarships, however, most receive some other form of financial aid. There are open doors now to students who will be first-generation college students. However, not enough students are walking through the doors either due to lack of knowledge, or a lack of belief in their ability to succeed. We try to fill the students with both the knowledge and the motivation to walk through the doors and diligently so.
Q4. Describe your own 96 Olympic training and your gold medal win?
A. I have been placed in great situations since I was young. I had supportive parents. My father was a PE teacher and track coach. My mother is exceedingly encouraging and inspirational individual. My high school coaching was top notch under my father, as well as Coach Colbert Britt, and my trainer Dr. Ken Leistner.
My collegiate coaching was stellar at Georgia Tech under Buddy Fowlkes, then Grover Hinsdale. I trained at Georgia Tech with older, veteran training partners who were Olympic medalists and mentors to me; their names are Antonio McKay, Gabriel Tiacoh and Amado Dia Ba. I also had the pleasure of training with Olympic gold medalist Derek Mills for ten years (1990-2000). I've been very fortunate.
Moreover, I was blessed with good physical genetics which I had no control over. All these factors contributed to my victory. After graduating from Georgia Tech in 1993,
I continued to train with the Georgia Tech track team under Coach Grover Hinsdale between 1993 and 1996, and then until 2001 when I moved back to New York. I trained 2-3 hours per day for 5-6 days per week. The training included sprint running on the track, distance running on the roads, hill running, and weight training.
Q5. Do you have advice for parents and how they can assist their kids whether they are aiming for the Olympics or not?
A. I believe parents should find a balance. They should push and motivate their kids toward their goals. But they can't push too hard. They also can't be too soft. Who can find the balance? That's the question.
My parents, coaches and mentors were exceptional at finding that balance. There should also be a bit more pressure on the students achieving academic success, rather than athletic dreams. In athletics, it should be the students pushing themselves; not so much parents pushing the students.
Q6. Is there anything else that you would like to share?
A. Yes. I also work for the New York Road Runners Youth and Community Services now where I go into schools citywide and speak to young people about what I call the "Olympic Mentality." That is, doing your best at all that you do.
I motivate students to work hard academically first, and then work hard in their other endeavors be it sports, fitness, the arts, etc. I also stress the importance of students keeping fitness and good nutrition as a part of their lives.
Here is a video clip which is played about my life and legacy, prior to each assembly.
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