MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Many Olympic track and field athletes train at universities. With college facilities shut down across the country, training like an Olympian has been difficult.
“A lot of our athletes are suffering financially just trying to figure out how do they find that balance,” Olympic Gold Medalist Jackie Joyner-Kersee said. “While you’re also trying to work on the physical part, but also the emotional and mental part of that preparation also plays a role on you.”
USA Track and Field Vice Chair Mike Conley Sr. knows how it can impact an athlete first hand. He’s a gold and silver medalist, as well as a world champion. Now he’s training his daughter for 2021
“Even if we don’t compete this year I want them to go through the season of acting like we’re going to compete and acting like we’re going to have some competition in the grass,” Conley Sr. said.
According to Jackie Joyner-Kersee, training on concrete and asphalt puts a lot of wear and tear on the body. The Olympic gold, silver and bronze medalist said it’s the price athletes pay when they want to be the best.
“And that’s what concerns me too about our current athletes not being able to have the facilities where they can go and train while you’re young, yeah it might not give you problems, but once you get past your competitive days you’re going to feel some aches and pains,” the former heptathlete said.
Conley is also the CEO of HTWO, Hydrogen Water made in Memphis, TN. It improves the recovery process for athletes.
“It helps you build your metabolism, helps you work yourself through these workouts, these tough times, soreness,” Conley said.
Longevity is key in sports. HTWO sponsors USA Track and Field Masters. Competition for athletes 35 years and older.
“You have to be consistent. You can’t be a one hit wonder. It’s like the labor of love that has gone into this has taken years and now it’s up to us to communicate and get it out there and get it in more and more people’s hands,” Joyner-Kersee added.
During the coronavirus, all sponsorships help USA Track & Field operate. HTWO, which is made in Memphis is also stocked in Kroger grocery stores in Memphis, Little Rock and Jackson.