My two days of competition were tough, to say the least. Coming in as the favorite, I didn’t expect there to be added pressure. That was naïve of me. When I got the track the first morning of my competition, my mind kept telling me that I had to do something amazing; to become a better athlete in order to get the gold. I was tense, shaking, and didn’t feel like my confident, normal self. I made the two days more difficult on myself, and took myself out of the running for the gold.
By the second event, this mentality got the better of me. I lost all rhythm and couldn’t think straight. My confidence was fading quickly and I could feel myself starting to panic. After the 200m, I was at a complete loss for words. My training had been going well, my warm ups for the 200m were great, I wasn’t sick or injured, and the conditions couldn’t have been more ideal. Yet I ran a crappy time and had no idea why.
The transportation in Beijing has been less than ideal. The buses are sparse and never leave on time. When you eventually get on a bus, you’re usually sitting in traffic. At 10pm between my two days of competition, I found myself sitting on a bus for over an hour trying to get back to the hotel. I was tired, hungry, and upset with myself. I felt trapped in my mind that was constantly telling me how terrible I was doing, how I blew my chance at gold, and how tomorrow will probably go the same way because I sucked. Sitting in standstill traffic not making any progress towards the hotel only made things worse. I wanted to scream. I texted Ashton and said, “I am honestly in my own personal hell right now. I don’t know what to do.” He texted me back:
"If you're going through hell, keep going."
I cried a lot that night and went to bed hoping I’d feel better in the morning. I didn’t. I was scared that I’d go out there in the long jump and suck and not know why. That was the part that was eating me up the most. I had to figure out how to get out of the funk I was in. Harry and Ashton weren’t going to be able to do it for me.
I didn’t totally feel like my normal self on the second day, but it was better than the first. The important thing is that I learned some tough lessons during this competition that I will carry into next year. I will use it to help me become a better athlete.