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Olympic Runner Colleen Quigley on Prepping for Tokyo in Quarantine

Hurdling/ JWS
Hurdling/ JWS

Colleen Quigley is an Olympic middle-distance runner who placed 8th in the 3000m steeplechase at the 2016 Rio games. An NCAA All-American and national champion at Florida State, Quigley spoke with JWS about what she’s learned in quarantine and how she’s getting ready for next summer’s Olympics. 

What’s your current training routine and how has it been affected by the pandemic?

Luckily, I’m in a sport where the majority of my training is done outside, and running is one of the most safe things that you can do during the pandemic. So that’s pretty awesome that we don’t have to go to a gym. We’re not worried about coming in contact with other people. The majority of my training I can do outside, and so it hasn’t really changed. The gym part has to be tweaked a bit, in terms of weight training and strength training stuff. I can’t really do that in the way that we’re used to. So just like everyone else, I’ve pivoted to the living room workout and just making the home gym work. It actually hasn’t been too bad. It definitely gets a little bit old, but not too bad. I will say, too, I really am leaning more than ever on my at home recovery tools, like my Hyperice and my NormaTec, for when I can’t go in for treatment or get a massage.

Are you on schedule for Tokyo next summer?

With track, it’s kind of interesting. The track and field Olympic team trials are not until July, so we have some time to train, and then it’s a one week process of a prelim and then a final. It comes down to one race deciding your fate. It’s crazy, but that’s how they do it. Every four years, there’s an opportunity to show up as fit and ready as you can and try to earn your spot on the team. It seems like it’s far away right now, but I know it’s going to be here soon.

How do you handle the pressure of going into a race like that?

It’s a lot. Every race that I enter there’s always something on the line. There’s always a team to make or a medal to earn, or an opportunity to get a record, or earn a bonus, or whatever it is. I think the last couple of years, a big part of my preparedness has come from working with a mental coach or a sports psych, however you want to call it. That has been a huge help to me. I realized that I work so much on my body, that it would be a shame to get in the best shape of my life and then show up on race day and let the nerves overpower me so that I can’t even use all this work that I’ve put in. And it’s helped me get over some of the stereotypes, like, if you see a sports psych, that means that you’re weak, or that you have issues. I realized there were lots of gains I could be making, and I really want to end my career realizing that there’s no stone unturned.

I think that’s what really helped me get to the starting line feeling excited for the challenge ahead, instead of overcome with nerves and fear. I really recommend that to any athlete who feels like they’re struggling with the pressure. There’s people that can help you. And they really do a good job.

How will the next 6 months differ from your run up to the 2016 games? Are there fewer races and competitions?

I think you have to go with the flow as we’re going through the waves of this pandemic. And right now, we’re in an uptick and everyone’s kind of shutting down again because cases are rising, and hospitalization and deaths are rising. So everyone’s kind of going back into super careful mode, which probably is going to mean no races for a while. We don’t really know at all what the schedule looks like this time around. We’re going to have to be more flexible and open to not having a plan or knowing that we have a plan, but it’s probably going to change, and being okay with that.

If a race opportunity comes up, you gotta take it. And if that opportunity goes away, then you just keep training. Everyone’s in the same boat, everyone’s just trying to stay safe and stay healthy and get to the starting line. So there will definitely be a lot more unknowns this time around, but that could just give everyone a bigger sense of gratitude when they do get to race. We have to make it count.

What have been some habits that you’ve had that have helped keep you sane during quarantine?

I don’t know it’s anything revolutionary, but what works for me is just getting a good routine going. Feeling like you don’t wake up in the morning going, “Oh, what am I going to do?” Just being like, okay, I wake up, make coffee, walk the dog, and then come back, have a little light breakfast, do my pre-run routine, go for my run and come back, do my strength routine, Pilates, whatever. Maybe have a snack or maybe it’s just already lunchtime. And then I go into my afternoon stuff, maybe have interviews or just check emails, work on projects I’m doing, make a video, work on my Instagram. And then like, okay, 4:00, I’m going to hop on the bike. Maybe I have PT in the afternoon or whatever, and then make dinner and go to bed.

I feel like just getting a routine and feeling comfortable in that routine helps you feel less lost or like you’re being tossed in the wind. You just have to get a really good rhythm going that makes you feel less  scattered.

What are some other projects or hobbies you’ve been able to spend more time on?

I feel like I’m always behind on a million things that I owe people or things that I’d like to do. I have an idea and I write it down and then it may or may not get done three months later. I feel like there’s always so many cool opportunities and I definitely have a lot of interests. One thing I’ll shout out is a company I’ve gotten involved with called Voice in Sport, or VIS for short. Stefanie Strack, the founder, used to work at Nike, and she contacted me about their podcast. So I got in a podcast and we had an hour and a half conversation. Everything that she’s doing with VIS for young girls is so cool and unique. She’s taken the time to develop this really awesome platform and the backend stuff is really at a high level. I became a mentor with them and I just started this month, working with a group as well as some one-on-one meetings. I’m new to the community, but I’m really excited to be a part of it and to give these young girls the resources they need to feel supported.

You chose running over a modeling career, saying you just couldn’t quit the sport. Has quarantine strengthened or altered that conviction?

Oh gosh. It’s one of those things where I think that, it was definitely a big decision at the time. It was kind of a crossroads in my life when I was 18 years old. I graduated high school and was given these two, honestly, really good options for the next steps in my life. I could move to New York and sign with an agency that was really excited to represent me and make a bunch of money and maybe become famous. And that seemed great. I love New York city. Or, I could take the scholarship and go to school for free and be a D1 athlete and have a chance at winning a national title. And that was also a good option. I could have gone either way, but I knew within a few months of being on campus at Florida State that I had made the right decision. I haven’t looked back since, and I can’t imagine not going down the road that I did. It’s led me to meet so many incredible people and given me the chance to make an impact on young girls and on a lot of people I’ve never met in a way that I just don’t think modeling would have offered me

Anything else that you wanted to add? 

I’ve been slacking on a few Instagram accounts that I run, my dog’s, my own, and then an account called Fast Braid Friday, but that last one is all about braids and hair and how doing something as simple as putting a braid or two in your hair before you go out for a hard workout or a race or into an important business meeting can make you feel more confident. It can make you feel like you’ve got your shoulders back and your head up and you’re ready to take on that challenge, whatever that might be. And so every week I post about my fast braids, with the idea that braids make you feel fast, on my own social media using #FastBraidFriday. And then I try to keep up with the Fast Braid Friday Instagram account as well, but I need to get back on that. That’s one of those things that’s fallen on the to-do list. I’ll also repost other people’s photos and share their stories. It’s become a community built around hair and braids, which is really fun.

Cameron Brink likes Caitlin Clark for 2024 WNBA Rookie of the Year

Cameron Brink poses with Caitlin Clark at 2024 wnba draft in new york
Cameron Brink poses with fellow draftee — and possible WNBA ROY —Caitlin Clark. (Photo by Emily Johnson/NBAE via Getty Images)

Cameron Brink already has her rookie of the year pick for the upcoming WNBA season, and it’s Indiana-bound star Caitlin Clark

In the latest edition of Kelley on the Street, host Kelley O'Hara caught up with Brink in New York hours before the Stanford phenom went No. 2 overall to the Los Angeles Sparks at the 2024 WNBA Draft. When O’Hara asked who would win the WNBA's rookie of the year, she answered without pause.

"Caitlin Clark," she said, while a fan commented that she thought Brink would take home the award. Brink later added that the extra foul granted to WNBA players will be "good for me."

"I hope it’s me," Charisma Osborne, who was later drafted by the Phoenix Mercury, said when asked her ROY prediction. "But, I don’t know — we’ll see."

Watch more of Kelley on the Street:

Dash winger Maria Sanchez confirms trade request a day shy of NWSL deadline

María Sanchez of Houston Dash during a NWSL game
In December, Sanchez signed a new three-year contract with the club worth $1.5 million including bonuses and an option year. (Photo by Marcus Ingram/Getty Images)

Maria Sanchez issued a statement on Thursday, confirming recent reports that she has requested a trade from the Houston Dash. 

In it, she revealed that the club has been aware of the request "since late March."

"This has all taken a toll and isn’t an easy thing to talk about, but I want to confirm that I’ve requested an immediate trade," she wrote. "My expectations and reasons have been clear. I trust that my current club’s management will honor my decision in a timely manner and proceed with accepting a trade."

"I’m eager to refocus and dive back into what I love most: playing football," she concluded.

Reports of Sanchez's trade request first surfaced on ESPN last week, and were later confirmed by multiple sources. 

In December of last year, Sanchez signed a three-year contract with the Dash valued at $1.5 million including bonuses and an option year. It was the largest contract in NWSL history at the time — a figure that would be eclipsed by multiple contracts in the following months. 

Sanchez spent the offseason as a restricted free agent, meaning that Houston could match any other team's offer to retain her rights. Should the Dash trade Sanchez, her current contract terms would remain intact, limiting potential buyers to teams able to afford to take on an inking of that size.

The Dash has yet to address the trade, instead reiterating to ESPN that Sanchez is "under contract, a choice she made in free agency at the end of 2023." 

Both the NWSL trade window and transfer window close tonight, April 19th, at 12 a.m. ET. The window will stay closed through the next 11 regular season games, reopening on August 1st, 2024.

Seattle Storm debut state-of-the-art $64 million practice facility

Jewell Loyd #24 of the Seattle Storm during warms up during practice on July 11, 2020 at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida
Jewell Loyd, seen here practicing at Florida's IMG Academy, and her team are in for a major upgrade this season. (Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images)

The four-time league champion Seattle Storm unveiled their new practice facility on Thursday, with Storm co-owner Lisa Brummel dubbing Interbay's Seattle Storm Center for Basketball Performance the team’s "new home."

"It's just such a special space," Brummel told Fox 13 Seattle. "I think when the players get here, it's gonna be overwhelming."

The sprawling 50,000-square-foot, $64 million property is just the second designated practice facility to be designed and built expressly for a WNBA team, with the Storm further noting that 85% of all design and engineering team members involved in the project's construction were women and people of color. The finished product holds two professional indoor courts, two 3x3 outdoor courts, a state-of-the-art locker room, and players' lounge, plus designated areas for strength and conditioning, kitchen, dining, and nutrition, and recovery. 

"This facility reflects our commitment to providing our athletes an exceptional environment that supports their growth, health, and performance," said Storm co-owner Ginny Gilder in an official team release. "It’s built for women, by women, embodying our dedication to leading the way in professional women’s sports."

For their part, the team can't wait to make the faciilty their own.

"It's amazing," Storm guard Jewell Loyd told Fox 13. "Not having to drive everywhere around, knowing you have access anytime of the day to get into the gym, to workout." 

Head coach Noelle Quinn said she predicts the team is "never going to leave this building."

"Which is a good thing for me," she continued. "You talk about having an edge in performance. We want our athletes to not only perform on the court, but get whatever they need."

All of the Storm's staff and operations will now live under one roof, and the team also has plans to launch a youth basketball program operating out of the building.

Mystics relocate game to accommodate Caitlin Clark fans

Maya Caldwell, Erica Wheeler, and Lexie Hull of the Indiana Fever celebrate Caitlin Clark
Get ready — Caitlin Clark is coming to town. (Photo by Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty Images)

The Caitlin Clark effect is quickly making its mark on the big leagues, as WNBA host teams around the country rush to upgrade their Fever games to larger arenas in order to accommodate surging ticket sales.

With Clark mere weeks away from her Indiana Fever debut, both the Las Vegas Aces and Washington Mystics have officially relocated their scheduled home games with head coach Christie Sides' squad. On Thursday, the Mystics became the latest to adjust their plans, moving their June 7th matchup from Entertainment & Sports Arena in Southwest DC to the more centrally located — and much larger — Capital One Arena "due to unprecedented demand."

The Mystics home court's capacity taps out at 4,200, while Capital One Arena — home to the Wizards, Capitals, and Georgetown Hoya's Men's Basketball — can fit nearly five times that crowd at some 20,000 spectators.

"The move to Capital One Arena will allow for additional fans in the stands as well as premium hospitality options, including Suites and the all-new all-inclusive courtside Hennessy Lofts," the team announced via Thursday's press release.

The Aces were one of the first teams to switch venues, aiming to take on the Indiana Fever in front of as many as 20,000 fans inside T-Mobile Arena on July 2nd. That’s a sizable a boost from their home venue, which holds just 12,000.

For those still planning to face the Fever in their home arenas, ticket prices have skyrocketed. Previously scheduled construction has already forced the LA Sparks to relocate their first five games — including their May 24th clash with the Fever — to Long Beach State's Walter Pyramid. The temporary venue is quite the downsize, holding just 4,000 in comparison to Crypto.com Arena's near-19,000. As of Friday, the get-in price for that game started around $400.

Despite fans launching a Change.org petition urging relocation, the Chicago Sky say they're unable to move their June 23rd Fever meeting from Wintrust Arena's 10,000-seat facility to the 23,500-seat United Center due to a concert. Tickets for that game start around $325 as of Friday.

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