DES MOINES, Iowa — As a master of all trades, long jump Olympic gold medalist Brittney Reese plans to solidify herself in track and field history.
While preparing for the 2019 Toyota USATF Outdoor Championships Reese has turned to some of the most important things, outside of the sport, which have played a great deal in her overall success.
The American indoor record holder’s longevity in the long jump has never been promised, but Reese credits her success to her hard work on and off the runway.http://gty.im/1157060800
“I would have never thought I would be where I’m at,” Reese said. “I always envisioned myself being in the Olympics and possibly winning the gold, but I would have never known to this day in 2019 that I would have eight of those medals be gold.
I feel like that’s a huge accomplishment and testimony to how hard I’ve worked and where I’m at… I’m just blessed and thankful for the opportunity to still be in the sport now.”
For Reese, this season is about improving and being in the right condition physically and mentally. The seven-time world gold medalist is working on her speed down the runway and being consistent in both practice and competition.
The Olympian has already secured the by to the World Championships, but with the opportunity to win her eighth USATF Outdoor Championship, one would think she’s feeling the pressure. Reese’s focus is to treat this championships as any other meet.
“Training is going well, I think I’m where I need to be as far as going into USA’s,” she said. “I just want to go in and try and produce some big jumps, and just try to get my season rolling right… I do want to get another USA title.
“That’s why I’m treating it as just another meet but in the back of my mind, I know I want to get it. That’s the goal.”
For a woman who’s accomplished as much as Reese has, there’s not much left to do but to fight to stay on top. To win and stay dominant. The three-time Olympian already has her sights on the next milestones she wants to achieve.
“My main focus going into these next couple years of my career is winning another World and Olympic title, but also to try and get the world record,” Reese said.
“I feel like it’s the only thing I have not done yet. I’ve jumped far, I’ve possibly jumped the world record, but it was a foul. Me now, I’m setting my focus on ending my career with the world record.”
Although she’s in preparation for yet another World Championship and the upcoming Olympic year, Reese prides herself in investing time in giving back to her community, her education, coaching and her family. Reese has found ways to give back to her hometown of Gulfport, Mississippi through countless track camps.
She’s raised money for local non-profits like Feed the Sheep, who help feed those in need and even her own Brittney Reese Scholarship that gives two students a monetary award toward their education at a two- or four-year institution. Every time the Olympian returns home, she makes it a priority to spend time with the youth of her city.
“To me, it’s the most important thing I can do right now,” she said. “Just being able to be around those kids and showing them, they can make it out the same way I did. It’s real important for me to do that. I’m trying to be that person that they can see from their area that made it out and doing good things also.”
This May, Reese graduated with her Master’s in Entrepreneurship from DeVry University, which allowed her to complete something her mother always envisioned for her.
“I was the first in my family to graduate from college, my sister graduated the day after me,” Reese said. “My mom always wanted me to get my master’s degree, so when the opportunity came from DeVry University for me to go, it was a no brainer.”
At times, it was hard balancing everything, but consistent scheduling helped her jump from one responsibility to the next.
“Once I’m out of track practice, my son gets out of school, then it’s his turn to go to whatever practice he has to go, and I was in school at the time also,” she said.
“It’s just about having a strict schedule, once I have a balanced schedule and I know what I’m doing each day, it makes life a little bit easier.”
Reese was able to achieve her lifelong dream of coaching in 2013 when she became the assistant coach at San Diego Mesa College. Since she had to stop coaching while obtaining her master’s Reese is looking to be back in the role again soon. It might come sooner than later, with the opportunity to coach her son, Alex.
“He’s a competitive kid and I try not to push him too much. I just sit back and let the coaches do their thing,” she said. “It was pretty cool because at his last track meet he won the long jump, placed second in the 100m and third in the 200m.
“On the way back home, he asked was I going to train him now. I had told him that I wasn’t going to train him until I thought he was serious, and I guess he was reminding me that he was serious now. So, it was a cute moment in the car.”
As Alex, Reese’s family, community and the world continue to watch her leap through the next phases of her career, there’s no doubt she wants to leave a lasting impression in and out of the pit.
“I just love the sport and I love to compete,” Reese said. “I dominate as much as I can, and I never give up. I stick to what I know and whether I got thousands of dollars or millions of dollars, my love for this sport will never change.”