Published on February 28th, 2014 | by Francine Rios-fetchko0
On the Right Track: Krishna Curry
Align. Set position. Start. Three seemingly simple steps that stay the same no matter who is standing next to you, how many people are watching or how strongly you believe that your heart will beat itself to bursting. For Samo track coach Krishna Curry, the only other steps that were as important were the ones that carried her past the finish line.
It was 2008 and Curry was in Eugene, Ore. preparing to run the qualifying race for the Olympics, an event she had been preparing for her entire life.
Curry was born in Nashville, Tenn. and started running track at age seven, mostly the 100 and 200 meter sprints. In Curry’s eyes she was a talented runner, but nothing special. Her skill, however, was nowhere near normal for a seven year old.
At age 13, her potential became apparent when she won her first National Championship in the 800 meter race at the Junior Olympics in Sacramento. After this, Curry took off, winning state five times in a row for the 400 meters. She is the only person to ever do this, since she won one of her titles while she was in the eighth grade. Following these feats, she won the National Championship twice in high school, making her Olympic dreams a possibility.
“The Olympics have been a lifetime dream of mine,” Curry said. “When I was a kid, my mom bought me to the 1992 Olympics that were in Barcelona. I have that video on VHS and I swear, I watched it nearly everyday as a kid.”
Curry attended University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) because of its strong athletics, academics and the fact that they have produced the most Olympians of any university.
“I am a big fan of the 2000 Olympics because they were the first real Olympics I saw as a kid. In 2000 I was about ten or eleven years old, and those were pretty big Olympic games in my lifetime because I was a big fan of Marion Jones, Cathy Freeman and Jearl Miles-Clark,” Curry said. “I was very inspired and motivated by those women and was definitely trying to follow in their footsteps which is why I went to UCLA.”
The training for running is broken up into three parts. During the fall, cross country is base training with a high amount of mileage. In winter, indoor track has moderate mileage with interval training. Indoor track turns into outdoor track during the spring. Outdoor track consists of 20 to 30 miles per week and is mostly speed work. Springtime is the prime time to get ready for the National College Championships and the Olympic trials.
With weightlifting three times a week, physical therapy twice a week, two practices a day and stretching and core work at home, the road to the Olympics was not an easy one for Curry. Nevertheless, her hard work proved worthwhile when at age twenty she set foot in Oregon ready to compete in the Olympic trials.
“It was surreal because I was collegiate and even though [getting there] was my goal, it was unexpected that I was going to qualify that year,” Curry said. “I dropped my personal best by six seconds, so at the beginning of the year I wasn’t predicting that I would make it that far, but my conditioning came together just in time for the trials.”
Curry had performed on professional stages before, but this experience was like no other. With her childhood hero on one side and a complete stranger on the other, what she had never considered a contact sport suddenly became one.
“I had some of my heroes that I was toeing up on the line with and it was intense,” Curry said. “You had a lot of people come out of the woodworks and strive for that dream that year; it was highly competitive.”
Curry’s best 800 meter time in 2008 was 2:04.70, which she ran at the West Regional competition. At the 2008 Olympic trials, she ran a 2:05.91 and finished in 20th place, which did not move her on to the next round.
Despite Curry’s loss in the 2008 trials and her inability to compete in the 2012 trials because of a torn meniscus, Curry plans to get back on the national stage and compete again in 2016.
“People don’t usually pay attention to track, so it was just really amazing to feel what it must feel like to other professional athletes to be the center of national attention,” Curry said.
As a coach, Curry sees the potential that Samo has to present a very competitive track team and plans to work to develop that potential.
“She has a lot of experience and she knows what I have to do to accomplish what I want and get to where I want to go,” Marcel Espinoza (‘16), a varsity runner who has similar goals to Curry’s, said. “I trust her a lot because I know that she has officially gone through what I am going through and knows what she is doing.”
According to Curry, her past experiences directly influence her coaching and many other aspects of her life.
“[My experiences] make my expectations really high,” Curry said. “They make me very demanding in terms of what I expect and make me have a strong goal orientation.”