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USA vs. the World press conference transcript


DeeDee Trotter

Opening Statement

“I’m really excited to be back at Penn Relays. It’s one of my favorite meets to run at throughout the year. Last year, I had a great time. I was looking through my Instagram and saw so many remarks and it made me even more excited to be back. It’s always good to be here.”

On competing as a veteran at Penn Relays

“I’m not ashamed of my age. I’m 32 years old now. As I’m competing this year, I’m preparing for my fourth Olympic journey as well. This race is just a stepping stone that direction. To be able to compete here again, it’s a great opportunity to sharpen up on my competitive skills. In my years at Tennessee, competing here at Penn Relays was nothing short of Wall of Fame-ish. Our relay SMR, we got a spot on the wall. This meet is a legacy for me. I love coming here. I will continue to run here until I hang my spikes up. So hopefully I’ll be back next year.”

On what motivates her

“I’m definitely sharpening up to have the best season of my career in 2016. I would like to end my career bringing home two gold medals, as London was a very triumphant year for me. I know there’s more in me. I found a new purpose in what I’m doing and new motivation. As you get to a certain point as a veteran, you have to ask yourself, ‘what gets me out here every day? What helps me train and lift and do all the things I did when I was 21 or even Kaylin’s age.’ You find it difficult to re-up. I found my purpose and I’m dedicating my next two years, my World Championship year and Olympic year, to the people who have been supporting me in my career. I even started a non-profit called “Running 4 the People” and that’s what I’m going to be doing and I hope to make a big impact.”

On weather

“You go out there with the mindset that you have to get a good warm-up in. The faster your event, the more you need to make sure you’re sharp. If you’re running the 100 or 200, even the 400, it’s critical that you warm up properly. I think that is the mindset that we’ve all been in today and put ourselves in yesterday when we arrived. You prepare mentally for it to be cooler than we’d like. You’ll see us out there trying to work up a sweat before we get out there. It’s a preparation mentally, too.”

Justin Gatlin

Opening Statement

“It’s always a pleasure to come back to Penn Relays. I feel like if I don’t run Penn Relays, it’s an incomplete season for me. (Coming) back here and knowing the rich culture of Penn Relays, seeing all the familiar faces is always a good thing.”

On if he listens to critics

“I don’t think about that. Critics are just what they are. They’re going to pick at the positivity of things. I come out to do what everyone else is trying to do, which is run, run fast and win. I’m not really concerned with what naysayers or critics come out and say. I come out here to do my job and I have to prepare myself for a race and run fast.”

On running the 100m and 200m at the Diamond League meeting in Brussels

“I wanted to bring a different dynamic to the track. For the fans, they see a DeeDee Trotter run the 400 and then she’s off the track, a Wallace Spearmon run a 200 and then he’s off the track, a Kaylin Whitney run the 100 and she’s off the track. We don’t go out there and play for two halves or four quarters. You only get to see us for nine seconds, so for me to run the 100 and then come back and run the 200, it’s not about me; it’s for the fans. DeeDee paved the way for it. One year, she would run 200s and 400s and then come back and long jump. To be able to see that, it’s not just for us. It’s for the fans because they don’t get to see us very often. I thought it would be an exciting dynamic. I want to be able to run both in the same day.”

On Jamaican rivalry

“Coming here and racing against Jamaicans, it’s not a team vs. team thing; it’s a country vs. country thing. It’s always exciting, especially early in the season. It gets people pumped up. Especially seeing the women race before we do, it brings a different dynamic and a little excitement for us. Like, we have to do our job, too. I like to be able to sit back and watch the guys do the 4x4 and the girls do the 4x4 very well. It’s a little cold, so I hope no one gets injured because we all want to have a great season going forward.”

“Everyone wants to see a nailbiter. Of course I want to have a great race with my teammates and sail through by 50 meters if possible, but if it’s a nail biter, then it’s not just for us; it’s for the fans. They want to see a great race.”

On why Justin is running well in his 30s

“(Running well because of) experience. You learn a lot from practice and competition. You get to see what your rivals are doing, good and bad. But also, the camaraderie. Able to sit back and watch my teammates do their thing and have a great year. They have great races and it puts more weight on your shoulders. Like, they’re doing a great job and I need to, too.

On what motivates him

“Discovery. I bridge the gap between different eras. I ran against Maurice Greene. And I run against guys like Usain and Yohan and the younger generation. To be able to step on the track against a broad era is an honor. To be able to do that in a competitive sense, to jockey for position for number one, that really motivates me. At 33, I’m still discovering my own talents. I find little flaws I have in practice, I work on those and go to the gym. Or I eat better to be able to better myself. When it’s over, it’s over. When I hang those spikes up, I don’t want to look back and think, I wish I did a couple more sit-ups or I wish I did more runs and that really motivates me. That helps me rebuild myself every year.”

On if there’s pressure to beat the Jamaicans

“Every year, I don’t put that pressure on me to beat a certain individual. I don’t start my year saying, ‘I want to beat Usain’ or ‘I want to beat Yohan’ or I want to beat anybody in the world. I want to beat Justin of 2014. 2014 Justin did a great job. 2015 Justin has to step his game to not only be dominant, but also get up on the podium once again. So that’s what I focus on. It’s less pressure because you’re hardest competitor is going to be yourself. You can tend to get lazy and say, I don’t have to have a hard workout today or tomorrow, but I push myself to be better every year.”

On what he would tell himself 10 years ago

“I wouldn’t stay up until 3 am playing video games. I wouldn’t eat cheeseburgers. I wouldn’t eat pizza. I’d have a better diet. When I first came into the game at 21, I was just happy to be here. Now that I’m 33, I’m a more dangerous opponent. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel now. So I know I don’t have much time to lollygag around. I want to make sure every step, every run, every race counts until the end.”

Kaylin Whitney

Opening Statement

“This is my first time here at the Penn Relays. I’m so excited to be here. Seeing all the people in the crowd, it’s a really cool feeling. Hearing from these guys that it’s their favorite meet, I’m just really excited for the experience.”

On her first senior competition with Team USA

“It’s a different feeling coming from the junior side of things. It’s more intensified here. It’s just different. I’m running with people that I looked up to. It’s a good experience.”

On if it’s hard for her to see her former peers running in HS and college

“It’s definitely different. I remember at Florida Relays, some of my friends who were seniors last year are running in college now. And they were in their college uniforms and I was in my Nike uniform, so I kind of skipped up a level.”

On what motivates her

“It’s to replicate the same feeling I had last year (at World Juniors). Competing for your country is one of the greatest honors I could ever have. To be able to do that again means everything to me. I’ve grown to have a passion for the sport. This year, I’ve made a lot of sacrifices with my personal life and my social life. Looking back on the moments of last year and being so successful, that’s what is driving me.”

Wallace Spearmon

Opening Statement

“I’ve been coming here since I was in school at Arkansas back in 2004. It’s definitely fun to come and have a team-oriented event instead of individual, so I love coming here and being part of Team USA and taking on the world.”

If there’s a difference in training this year than previous years

“I’ve taken this year...the years before, I’ve always kind of run willy-nilly and whatever happens, happens. I’m treating this year like I did some of my best years, competing at Texas Relays, Florida Relays, Penn Relays as a tool to sharpen my skills before I open up individual events. I’m here to run the 4x2 and I’ve asked to run the 4x4, which if you know me, you are really surprised but I definitely want to take this year seriously. Last time in Beijing wasn’t great for me in 2008 and I want to redeem myself from that performance.”

On what motivates him

“When I was young, I didn’t know any better. I had a platform to compete and I love competition. I accomplished a lot early and so I had to find another reason why I wanted to do this. I figured out that I do love the sport. I thought I wanted to be a football player or a basketball player. You’ll find a lot of male track athletes who say, ‘I’m going to go play football.’ No, you’re not. Stay in the sport, train hard, go out there and run fast. I don’t have an Olympic medal. I don’t want to be the guy who they say he competed well and ran fast at small meets. I have World Championship medals but I don’t have an Olympic medal. As of right now, as I still have tread on my tires, I’m going to go out there and try to get an Olympic medal.”

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