Eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on her front porch, a young Carmelita Jeter couldn’t take the time away from the basketball court to have dinner. She played from sun up to sun down with her father and brother. Basketball was her true passion. That was until her basketball coach at Bishop Montgomery High School in Torrance, California suggested she try track in the off-season to stay in shape. She never went back.
“I loved the individualism of the sport,” said Jeter, “I loved how you worked for it and whatever you got out of it is what you put into it. I loved basketball but I felt like track was my own thing.”
It was to be more than just Jeter’s ‘thing’ after the 2009 Shanghai Golden Grand Prix when her record setting time of 10.64 won her the title of fastest woman alive (second only to the late Florence Griffith-Joyner).
Through triumphs and injuries, Jeter has traveled the world competing – and has no plans of slowing down soon.
“If you believe in yourself, that is all you need and you go out there and you handle your business,” said Jeter.
And she hopes to “handle her business” in Rio for the 2016 Olympics. Despite a quad injury earlier this year, Jeter has her sights set on Olympic gold.
“You find that strength, you find a way to get there – it doesn’t matter what sport it is or if it’s not a sport. If it’s something that you love to do and you want to do, you keep fighting for it,” said Jeter.
Jeter is certainly one to watch in Rio – if you can keep up, that is.