Rochester track star will wait another year to go for Olympic gold

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NCAA champ Sammy Watson sought first Olympic berth this year

Rush-Henrietta alum Sammy Watson was hoping to get a crack at the Olympics this year.

“I’m not too bummed,” she says. “I’m not too bummed because I know that I’m young and I’ll have time.”

Like every other athlete this spring, concerns about the coronavirus have derailed her year. And it’s not just the Olympics, it’s everything.

“It’s hard not having places to train right now and not knowing when or if I will have a season for this outdoor, for the summer,” says Watson.

Watson won the 800-meter NCAA title as a college freshman in 2018 and turned pro last year. She thinks the extra year to get ready will help her out in the long run.

“I’m coming into my prime,” says Watson. “I’m not on the downside of my career. It’s just getting started, so having that extra year, I don’t feel like I can get any worse. I can only get better and stronger.”

Right now, Watson runs near her Philadelphia apartment to stay in shape and does strength and core workouts at home.

“My apartment complex gym, I can’t even go in there. It’s tough when you don’t have a track.,” says Watson. “We compete on tracks, so it’s hard to try to simulate that on something else like grass or gravel. I think it’s difficult right now, but it’s given us time to get creative.”

Watson is currently training with a world-renowned coach in Philadelphia and a group of accomplished Olympic stars, all older than her. She says it was intimidating at first, but now Watson says the other girls are like good sisters.

Maybe next year, she’ll be the one considered an Olympic star.

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