Look for Michelle Perry to get to the finish line first this summer at the Beijing Olympics.
Four years ago, Michelle Perry was an Olympic heptathlete, finishing 14th in the Athens Games. She decided to specialize, and now she’s a two-time world champion and the Olympic favorite in the women’s 100-meter hurdles.
She won’t have to jump over anything in Modesto, but she may have some catching up to do against Lauryn Williams in the 100 meters.
Q: Which event will you run in Modesto, the 100 meters or 100 hurdles?
A: The 100, so I can work on my speed-to-hurdle ratio for when I run the hurdles later in the year.
Q: You’re a two-time world champion in the 100-meter hurdles, ranked No. 1 in the world in 2007. But you also were an Olympian in the heptathlon. Was the hurdles the heptathlon event you enjoyed the most or simply the one you were best at?
A: I enjoy both of them. I'm always a little more passionate with the hurdles. I would say the hurdles are my first choice.
Q: Are you thinking a lot about the Olympics? Have you been to Beijing?
A: Never been to Beijing. I'm always thinking about the Olympics. My ultimate goal this year is to make the Olympic team.
Q: How was your 2004 Olympic experience in Athens?
A: Overwhelming. There are people from so many different countries. It was an entirely different setting from what I was used to. I had been to only one world event. It was in France, and it was a smaller venue. In the Olympics, it's a much bigger venue, competing against people from all over the world. Now, I understand what it is you need to do at that level.
Q: You’ve run a half-marathon. Do you really want to run a marathon someday?
A: Yes, I do. It's going to be extremely hard, but I want to do it. Why did I decide to do this? It's very difficult. You know how people have a list of things they want to do before they go to the pearly gates? So now, I have to get ready for my marathon. It's probably one of the final things I do before I finish competing, maybe like a retirement race.
Q: We’re told you’re funny with a great personality, but that you hide that from your competitors. Is that true?
A: Yeah, because they don't need to know everything about me.