KNEE TO KNOW – STORY BY TRACK & FIELD NEWS

CANDACE HILL’S OLYMPIC TRIALS WAS
MORE AMAZING THAN YOU KNOW

by Sieg Lindstrom

NOW she tells us. In a year where preps stirred the pot big-time at the Olympic Trials, 17-year-old junior Candace Hill put herself deep into the mix, placing 4th in her 100 semi and 5th in the 200’s penultimate round. In the shorter dash, Hill, whose ’15 PR, 10.98, took down the High School Record, made her the first sub-11.00 prep, and spurred her decision to turn pro at 16, missed the final by just 0.03.

Superb achievement by any standard, and 12 days later the Rockdale Magnet (Conyers, Georgia) student who is sponsored by Asics went on to win the World Junior title with a wind-legal 11.07 seasonal best to go with her same-time windy Trials effort.

What Hill never revealed publicly before now, though, is that she did all that after an injury that kept her from running at all for most of the winter and spring.

“My meets really weren’t scheduled in a way a professional athlete’s meets should be because of injury, unfortunately,” Hill understated to T&FNat a late October Las Vegas media summit she joined with several of agent Mark Wetmore’s young Global Athletics clients. “It happened right after my first indoor race [a low-key 7.32 indoor outing over 60m]. It was a cracked cartilage in my [left] knee and so I had to have surgery on it.

“I was out for four months, from January to the middle of May. I didn’t train at all [on the track]. I just worked on upper body strength and core.”

Say what?! No wonder Hill didn’t race again until the American Track League Atlanta meet on June 4th, where she doubled 11.42/23.12.

“I had to force the peak,” Hill now admits, “because I was like, ‘I have to run, I have to run.’ So I guess I forced the peak and my true talent really came out.”

Of the surgically mended knee Hill says, “Right now it’s feeling better, 100% better. I feel like going into this next season I hope I’m injury free, that I have no problems and that I can have a full, normal season.”

For first person accounts of Candace’s Injury…

LIFE LESSONS

Johnny Bailey