Olympian Val Constien Media Day Transcript
BOULDER – Val Constien, a 2020 Olympian in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, recently returned home to Boulder, Colo., and was able to kick off the University of Colorado's annual fall sports media day on Friday, August 13.
Constien, a 2019 CU graduate and Edwards, Colo. native, finished 12th in her first Olympic Games and was able to talk to the media about her experience and her plans for the future.
Below is a full transcript from the press conference.
TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE OLYMPIC EXPERIENCE
It was a huge honor, in general, to be able to represent my country, because I really do love the U.S. The whole experience was incredible. Tokyo was an amazing city. They did a great job keeping everyone safe. That was my first international track race ever and my first world championship race, so, there was a lot of pressure to do well and I really hope that the next time I have an opportunity to toe the line in a Team USA jersey that I'll be able to handle the pressure of better.
talk about your most memorable experience outside of the actual race
The Olympic Village was really quite beautiful. The apartment buildings that we were staying in were amazing, and my roommate was Heather McLean; she was the third-place finisher at the U.S. Trials for the 1,500. She's about my age and we both graduated in 2019. It was really fun to have someone who was my age and a very similar experience to kind of hang out with every day. We've become pretty close friends and so I really can't wait to have the opportunity to run into her again at meets and I might even try and make my way over to Boston to spend some time with her.
For me, the hardest part was not running close to my personal best in the final because I really was hoping to run close to 9:20 in the final and that didn't happen. So for me probably the first eight hours after my event I was pretty sad. But then after that, I just tried to make the most of it and just be really, really happy about it. And so, for me luckily I have a pretty good support system here in Boulder and at the Olympics, they had a lot of really good support systems too. I haven't really been that sad, but I know that a lot of my competitors are probably a lot more disappointed than I am so luckily there are resources out there, USATF makes sure that we know of them. And so I hope that my competitors have healthy ways of coping.
WORKING A FULL-TIME JOB WHILE TRAINING FULL-TIME
It's not easy to train and work eight hours a day. Luckily the company that I work for is very supportive. So I work about seven days a week usually and I work half-days four days of those week and then full-days the other three days to try and be able to get in my 40 hours but still have quality training sessions. Sometimes it's really tough I'll get up at, you know 5:50 a.m. to start running by 6:50 a.m. to finish in time to start work at nine, and then at five, when I clock out, go for another run, and lift, so sometimes it's a big 12 to 13-hour day of activities but it doesn't leave a whole lot of time for thinking and overthinking, and so it really makes you know the track and training my happy place.
WILL THIS EXPERIENCE, WHAT YOU DID DO OR DID NOT DO, MOTIVATE YOU FOR ANOTHER APPEARANCE IN A FEW YEARS
Yeah, I fully intend to train as hard as I can. The next World Championships is actually in 2022 in Eugene, Oregon, and so there's going to be a very similar kind of U.S. Trials and then world race, so I would really like to be able to turn it around and shoot for another team here the next year. Then, obviously, Paris 2024, is really exciting to think about as well. I think as long as I keep training I have a really good shot because in college I was injured a lot, so I've really only been able to do this off of a year and a half of uninterrupted injury-free training, so if I can stack a couple more years of uninterrupted training, I think I could be pretty good, which is exciting.
WHAT IS IT ABOUT BOULDER FOR OLYMPIANS
I think for starters, Boulder is a very supportive community in general, so people who have Olympic aspirations are encouraged to chase that. It's also sunny here a lot which is great. It's a lot easier to get motivated to go training if it's sunny out than if it was rainy or cloudy. The winters really aren't that bad, in comparison to maybe Vermont or Seattle. And we're at altitude too, so I think that's an advantage as well.
THOUGHTS ON HER SISTER (ELIZABETH) A MEMBER OF THE CU CROSS COUNTRY & TRACK AND FIELD TEAMS
My sister has done an amazing job she came in as a freshman and she was by no means a top recruit. And so for her to be able to just have the consistency and the dedication to keep showing up, she's shown incredible improvement in the last year alone. I think that this team as a whole has an opportunity to chase that national championship title. I think that my sister is going to be one of the leaders on that team and I think if she trains really hard, she could be an All-American in cross country as well. I'm so proud of her.
INTERACTION WITH FORMER BUFF EMMA COBURN FOLLOWING THE STEEPLECHASE FINAL
So after my race, we both got out of the stadium relatively quickly because we were both disappointed and we didn't really want to talk about that right away. So, when we were both outside of the stadium cooling down on the track, I had an opportunity to just talk to her briefly and I could tell she was disappointed but she made a large effort to congratulate me on my whole season and my final in general. So I think that that speaks really highly of Emma, even though she might have been very disappointed in herself. She was able to put that away and just be really happy for me in my season. Emma's a superstar, stand-up gal and I'm really happy to have been able to kind of follow in her footsteps and cross paths with her this year.
WHY DO HALF OF THE U.S WOMEN'S OLYMPIC STEEPLECHASE COMPETITORS COME FROM CU
I think Mark and Heather are the best steeplechase coaches in the world. And I know that's kind of a bold statement but I mean with numbers like that, it would be pretty hard to argue. And I think that Boulder in general is a great place to train. So when you combine the best coaches in the world and one of the best places to train, you're just bound to get a lot of success.
THOUGHTS ON REPRESENTING THE COUNTRY AT SUCH A YOUNG AGE
I think that there was a lot of people that were my age, that were on the woman's distance team because Elise Cranny and I are the same age as well as myself and Heather McLean, and I think Karissa Schweizer might actually be the same age as us as well, so there was a lot of us young women representing the distance team. I think everyone on Team USA just had so much class, even the super young women like Athing Mu, and a lot of the other women who were pretty young. Because the team was just so solid in general, no one was immature and everyone just went there with a job to do. Team USA is going to have a lot of really great women for the next five to 10 years, which is exciting.