Trials Present A Big Challenge

Ginnie Crawford has spent her entire career working toward a goal the stands just three races away: to be an Olympian.

As Ginnie prepares for the first of those races — the qualifying round of the 100-meter hurdles on Friday night at Hayward Field in TrackTown — she says a healthy season has given her confidence that she belongs among the nation’s best in her event.

“I still work hard and I still try and go into every race being confident,” she said. “I was fortunate enough to be healthy the entire year and be able to work hard and be better prepared for this Olympic trials.”

Ginnie has tried before to qualify for the Olympics, in 2008, but a lingering injury from a fall a year earlier slowed down and she finished outside the Top 3 needed to earn a spot on the Olympic team. She knows the competition will once again be fierce this weekend as she seeks to achieve her goal and everything can change in an instant.

“It’s 12 seconds,” Ginnie said. “It’s very cutthroat. You just have to get across that line in the Top 3. It can be nerve-wracking because no matter how well you competed throughout the year, how fast you’ve run or may run afterward, it’s about who is the best on that day.”

What makes it that much more competitive, to the point where trying to pick a favorite is a fruitless endeavor, are the 10 obstacles standing in each runner’s way. One mishap over one of those 10 can squash someone’s dream, but Ginnie says that’s what makes the event so great.

“We have 10 things in our way,” she said. “You can be the fastest and have the best technique, but so many factors go into hurdles that the one thing is execution. You can be the best in the world, but if you don’t execute, that will get in the way of being successful and getting on the team. That is one thing that keeps this event so competitive.”

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Among those who will also be looking to secure a spot on the U.S. team is Lolo Jones, considered by many to be one of the faces of women’s track and field, because of her backstory.

Jones’ notoriety has helped to shine a spotlight on the event, but Ginnie notes that her story isn’t much different than any of her fellow competitors who’ve dealt with hardship off the track and heartbreak on it.

“I know to outside people, though, seeing Lolo’s face and hearing her story, that does bring a lot of notoriety to the sport and that’s good in that aspect,” she said. “[But] we all have a story to tell. We all have a story that we can pitch that can be just as intriguing as Lolo’s.”

According to Ginnie, what sets the 32 women competing for three spots this week on the Olympic team apart is what they’re able to accomplish on the track.

“I think the best thing is that we still stay focused. What proves our validity in this sport is what we do as in making teams and what medals and things we get,” she said. “People on the outside looking in that aren’t in the world of track and field don’t understand how we prove our validity in this sport and how we make our living in it and what it does mean to have those medals and make teams … not just to have a great story or being a face.”

Qualifying for the 100-meter hurdles begins on Friday evening at 5:40 p.m. PDT. The semi-final is slated for 3:15 p.m. PDT  and the final just a couple hours later at 5:45 p.m. on Saturday. 

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