World indoor 400m bronze medallist Shaunae Miller is among the world’s most versatile 200m/400m exponents. We chat to the 2011 world youth and 2010 world junior 400m champion from The Bahamas about some important elements to her life, both on and off the track.
My best achievement in athletics
My best achievement in athletics is the time I won the overall trophy award for the ‘10-and-under girls’ category at the CUT Games held in Jamaica in 2004. It’s my most memorable achievement thus far because it was the first national team I’ve ever made and it also gave me a greater insight into what I can actually achieve throughout the rest of my track and field career.
My greatest rival
I consider myself a ‘newbie’ at the professional level, so I am yet to identify a particular rival.
The best track venue
The National Stadium in Jamaica. The atmosphere in Jamaica is like no other. The crowd was phenomenal. The stadium was packed and the minute I stepped on the track the people went crazy. They are real track and field supporters and they show that by the fact they always turn up in numbers for many of the meetings.
The best piece of coaching advice
“They’re not going to just hand you the gold medal. If you want it, you have to go get it. You worked hard for it didn’t you? That was the hard part; this part here is where the fun kicks in. Go show the world the talent God gave you.” – Shaun Miller (dad).
The best athlete I’ve ever seen
Marie Jose-Perec (the 1996 Olympic 200m and 400m champion). I got the opportunity to meet her in Lille, France at the 2011 IAAF World Youth Championships. We had a press conference and she was one of the guest speakers. I admired her because we’re basically of the same build and she competed in the same events as I do. In her career she managed to run personal bests of 48.25 in the 400m and 21.99 in the 200m. She also currently holds the Olympic record in the 400m. Watching a few of her races inspired me to do great things in both the 200m and 400m.
My greatest indulgence
My greatest indulgence would have to be chocolate. I know it’s not good for me but at the same time it’s so hard for me to say no.
My greatest disappointment
My greatest disappointment was at the London 2012 Olympic Games. I was competing in the 400m prelims and I was super excited to get the opportunity to compete at my first senior international meet. But in the sport of track and field, injuries are inevitable. I was ready to race. The crowd was live and roaring, the setting was amazing, and I was ready to go. The starter fired the gun and I took off.
After about 20 metres I felt my left hamstring grab me, it loosened up a bit and I tried to make a go for it again, but once again it grabbed me. I ended up suffering from a strained hamstring and couldn’t finish the race.
Immediately tears rushed down my face and medics came running to my attention. They offered me a wheelchair, but I denied. I ended my first Olympic experience limping off the track with tears in my eyes. But I knew it wouldn’t be the end for me and I used it as a learning experience, only to bounce back faster and stronger than ever.
The best pre-competition song
I Understand by Smokie Norful. It keeps me calm and reminds me that even though I’ve been through so much that I must continue to trust in God’s plan, because he won’t let me down.
My best achievement outside of athletics
Being accepted into the University of Georgia to pursue my undergraduate studies.
My best friend in athletics
My best friend in athletics is Maicel Uibo. He is a decathlete from Estonia (with a best mark of 8356, set when winning the NCAA title last week). I first met him in 2012 as a freshman at the University of Georgia. We got closer as time went by. I can share anything with him, whether it is track related or not. He’s also a hard worker and encourages me daily to do my best and I do the same for him.
My greatest regret
Not being able to compete at the inaugural IAAF World Relays held at home in Nassau in the Bahamas in 2014.
Steve Landells for the IAAF