Carly Besser || Staff writer
The Olympics are a showcase of the most talented athletes in the world. Training is grueling, hours are long and dedication must run deep when one turns their sights toward the Olympic games.
Murray State junior sprinter Alexis Love traveled to Eugene, Ore., to compete for a spot in the 2012 London Summer Olympics 100- and 200-meter dash events.
Love showed strong Olympic potential last spring when she set the school record for the indoor 60-meter dash at the OVC Indoor Championship.
She also earned All-OVC honors for her second-place finish in the 200 at the Ohio Valley Conference Championship. When Love ran her personal best 100-meter time of 11.28 last May, it became apparent the junior sprinter was ready for higher competition.
Love set records in the 200-meter event as well when she broke the OVC record of Olympic sprinter Heather Samuel who ran for Murray State in 1991-1994 and then at the Olympics in 2000.
“I’ve wanted to be in the Olympics since I was little,” Love said. “And I’ve been running for about nine years.”
Love advanced to the semifinals of the 100-meter event with a third-place preliminary and a final time of 11.44, behind Chelsea Hayes and Carmelita Jeter. Jeter went on to win bronze in the women’s 200-meter event.
The OVC Track Athlete of the Year’s tryout came to an end in the semifinals of both the 100- and 200-meter event. Her final 200 time of 23.10 was short of the final Olympic qualifying spot by .54 seconds.
“The mental preparation for the games is what was the most difficult, and it takes a lot of focus and preparation,“ Love said. “Physically, I had all the same practices so it wasn’t much of an adjustment, but it was very tough mentally for me.”
Love said she knew how important it was when she realized she had to run alongside the fastest women in the world, who have done this before.
“My coach said ‘What would you say if I told you that you
were running against the fastest woman in the world?’ And I did. I ran against her three times.” Love said. “I would go to the starting line and tell myself to calm down and breathe.”
Admittedly, Love said she was star struck when she saw some of the athletes she idolized in person.
“It was crazy,” she said. “I had to keep telling myself to wait to ask for autographs later and to keep my focus on my times.”
Though she did not earn a spot in the games, she proved her ability to run with the best.
In addition to representing her country, Love said she felt good knowing she was representing Murray State, and the community supported her well through her tryouts.
“It’s awesome,” she said. “You get to be on TV and know that Murray State is watching you along with everyone else. Some of the athletes were sponsored by brands, but I was proud to have ‘Murray State’ show up next to my name.”
When asked about whether she would make a run at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in 2016, love said, “Without a doubt. Why wouldn’t I?”
Having an opportunity to compete in the Olympics is a dream for most athletes, and for Love, she will continue to work toward one day making it to the games. She still wants to prove she can continue to run with the elite and display her pride as a Murray State Racer.