Jun 22, 2012

Olympic Trials, UC Style: Wineberg Attempts Second Olympic Team

The U.S. Track and Field Trials started yesterday and a few of UC's current and former track standouts will compete for a chance to make the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team. We caught up with the athletes as they make their way to Eugene, Oregon, the first stop to the London Games. Stay tuned for more more posts on UC's Olympic hopefuls.

Many of you will remember UC's most recent Olympic gold medalist, Mary Wineberg, CECH '02. During the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, Wineberg won a gold medal as a member of the women's 4x400 meter relay. Mary will compete in the first round of the 400-meter dash today at 3:35 PDT. Catch up with Mary here and follow her as she attempts to make her second Olympic team.

How many years have you been running? How many meets do you think you've competed in?
Since graduating college in 2002, I have been running and trying to make a name for myself in the sport of track and field for 11 years.  During those years, I have won three major medals and one Olympic medal, and a list of so many wonderful places I have been able to travel and compete at. I haven't counted the meets I attended but if I had to guess I would say over 200 races!

What's the most challenging thing about competing at this level?
Being able to break through and have an awesome race in your specific discipline that opens opportunities for you to have a great career, staying injury free and allowing yourself to still stay mentally strong through the downs of your career!  Adjusting to the time demands, travel, different food while traveling, being away from family and living out of your suitcase is also challenging. A track athlete has to be a very organized individual who is able to adapt to different environments and be able to push themselves, while setting goals. For me, the most challenging part of being a professional track athlete was coming back to train after having my daughter. I experienced injuries and had to make sure I gave my body the attention it needed to make myself better. 

What has been your favorite race that you have competed in other than the Olympics?
My favorite race would be the Stockholm Meet "Dalan Gala GP" in Sweden. I really enjoyed going to this meet. Not only was the meet director nice, but the accommodations were wonderful.  I also enjoyed going to the track, and right before my event they played Michael Jackson as we're introduced to the crowd.  It was such a cool place, nice people and good chocolate.  

What's your most memorable track moment outside of the '08 Olympics?
Making the 2007 World Team, not only in the 400 meters but also in the 4x400 meter relay. This was where I won my first gold medal while at the IAAF Outdoor World Championships in Osaka, Japan.  It was such an awesome feeling and makes me realize how much I have grown as an athlete.  Another favorite memory was being ranked top 10 in the world that same year.

What do you do when you aren't training?
I can be found playing with my daughter, Brooklyn, who will be 3-years-old in August. She was my post-Olympic baby and I cherish the time we spend together. I also read, love to volunteer and  help my mom and spend time with family.

Tell us about your volunteer coaching at University of Cincinnati. Is coaching something you would like to pursue later on in life?
I have been a volunteer assistant since 2007. I really enjoy being an inspiration to the athletes by allowing them to see what avenues track and field have to offer. It's cool to be able to see the athletes progress and mature through the years. When I am done with running, I see myself possibly coaching, starting my own business or doing something in the health industry.

How have your experiences related to UC helped you get to where you are in your track career today?
My experiences with the UC track program and community helped me progress into the athlete and person I am today. I have been given the chance to be around great positive people and a university that is willing to allow me to train and prepare for my competitions. Being a Bearcat is such an honor, and to be included in the Hall of Fame has been exhilarating. I love UC and all that it has to offer. I am so excited to see it grow and better the lives of others. 

Tell us why you are Proudly Cincinnati. 
All in all, I am Proudly Cincinnati because I can proudly say that I bleed red and black. Most of all, I have grown to be an outstanding individual, athlete and graduate from the best college in Ohio. UC makes you feel like family. It has a warm and inviting campus with great academics and sports! Why would anyone go somewhere else?

We wish Mary the best of luck as she competes at U.S. Olympic Trials. You can wish Mary luck with a comment below!

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