Jeanette Bolden Olympic Trials' Teleconference Excerpts
June 27, 2008
EUGENE, Ore. - U.S. Olympic women's team head coach Jeanette Bolden addressed the media at a press conference Wednesday held in conjunction with the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials - Track & Field, June 27 - July 6 at historic Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore.
An Olympic gold medalist as part of Team USA's 4x100m relay at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, Bolden placed fourth in the 100 meters at those Games and was a member of the 1980 Olympic team. Bolden recently finished her 14th year running the women's track program at her alma mater UCLA, where her squads have won three NCAA team championships and were runners-up at the 2005 NCAA Outdoors. In all, she has been part of five NCAA Champion teams, both as a coach and athlete. Excerpts from today's press conference follow:
Q: What are you hoping to see here in Eugene in the next two weeks?
A: This is an exciting time for track and field. I've had a chance to work with everyone up close and personal and work with the relay team at Penn Relays in April, and I think we're on the right track. I think everything is going well.
Q: What sort of activities have you been doing leading up to the Trials?
A: A lot of conference calls (laughter). We usually have conference calls a couple times a month and lately they've been more frequent. Of course, talking with the staff as a whole, men's and women's teams with the managers and then also I've had conference calls with just the women's staff talking with them about how everyone's athletes are doing in their particular area and making sure we keep up on anyone who is injured and what's going on with the athletes. From the Trials on I'll be more face to face with the athletes. I'll be going to Europe for the next two and a half to three weeks (after the Trials) and we'll have a few relay races over there.
Q: What is being done to improve the handoffs on U.S. relay teams?
A: One of the things we've done in the last couple of years with the (USA Track & Field) High Performance Division is athletes come to events, let's say the Penn Relays, Mt. SAC Relays, Texas Relays, Drake Relays and get together with a pool of athletes and they practice exchanges with different personnel on the relay, and so we have a lot more opportunity to pass the stick around with different individuals than we had before, and that's helping us a lot. Now we have individuals at relay camps prior to the Olympic Games or World Championships where before they really hadn't passed the stick before at all and they're just working on it right there at the camp. Now they have the opportunity to do that throughout the year and they get to see each other a lot more, and that has helped a lot.
Q: What's it like for you from a head coach's perspective now that the Trials are here?
A: It's a situation where I am excited, nervous anticipating what is going to happen. I think the Olympic Games is an experience that I will never forget from an athlete's perspective. I think I will probably be more excited from the coaching end because now I have like 18 events to get excited about, opposed to my one or two events of the 100 meters and 4x100 (as an athlete). I want to make sure that all the 'I's' are dotted and the 'T's' are crossed. I'm excited and really hoping that the things I've learned in my past years as an athlete and now as a coach, I can maybe encourage someone and give a little bit of wisdom.
Q: What do you think about Eugene as the host city?
A: From a college standpoint, I've been to Eugene several times as a coach at UCLA, and I love the fans. I think that's what people talk about the most. The fan support is incredible and it's not just at the stadium. You can go to the Original House of Pancakes where I eat all the time when I come here, and they say, 'Oh you're here for the track meet.' It's just nice and a very warm feeling knowing that it's not just the fans who go to the track meet that welcome you, it's everyone in town.
Q: Could you talk about the drama of the Olympic Trials?
A: Fortunately and unfortunately, our system is fortunate for those three (per event) who make the team, and it's unfortunate for everyone else trying to make the team. I'll say this; you are going to see the best and the brightest in track and field. Whether or not they make the team you are going to see the best and the brightest, and that's what this is about, having the Trials and going through our system and being here in Eugene. The athletes will be well supported and the fans will get to see track and field in its truest sense. The individuals know they can't blame it on anyone else, it's just you and the clock.