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Gold Medal Mindset

FAST Athlete Success Stories: Janessa Brown Cont...

The last time we came to you we told you a story about FAST athlete Janessa Brown. Janessa has had an amazing climb to the top of the national rankings for female track athletes over the past few years. At the time of the last newsletter Janessa was on her way to compete at the Junior Olympics in De Moines, Iowa. The Junior Olympics is an annual event held by the United States Amateur Athletic Union (AAU). Unlike the Olympics, the junior version is open to US competitors only and held in American cities across the nation. Since 1967, the competition has given young athletes a chance to perform on a national stage, against the best competitors in the country.

The first Junior Olympics was held in 1967 in Washington, DC. Created nearly two decades prior, the AAU had originally worked to create head-to-head national matches for track and field athletes. With the help of corporate sponsorship, the nationwide competition has quickly expanded to include the best and brightest youth athletes in the country.

Arriving in De Moines, Janessa was full of nerves and anxious thoughts. She described herself as being "one big ball of nerves." Janessa said, that although she was nervous when she arrived at the stadium to compete she started to "get into her zone." Her coach and father James Brown helped prepare her mind and body in warm ups. Going through the routines she has done day in and day out she worked up a good lather ready to step into her first race heat. With a big cracking sound the starting gun goes off echoing through the stadium. Janessa and 7 other competitors took off like fighter jets off of a runway. In this particular heat Janessa was qualifying for the 200M sprint. As they raced down and around the track Janessa pulled up to the front with about 100M to go. So many thoughts going through her mind, but she blocked them all out and stayed focused. As she started to see the finish line Janessa turned on the jets and finished a full 5 strides ahead of the next athlete. This first heat really set the tone for the next week of competitions.

Janessa qualified to compete at the Junior Olympics in 3 different categories, the 100M, 200M and the Long Jump. Breezing through all 3 events and all of the heats leading up to the final, Janessa was ranked as the #1 seed. Up first was the Long Jump final. Janessa was very excited for the long jump because this is where she normally shines. Unfortunately for her there was an incredibly strong head wind during her attempts causing her to not jump at her best distances. Despite the bad luck Janessa walked away with a Bronze medal in the long jump.

Turning her attention to the 100M Janessa had her work cut out for her. After winning all of her heats she built up so much confidence going into the final race. She came out of the gate strong and quickly started to battle at the front. Remembering her training and what she has learned at FAST she gave it her all she and finished 3rd, earning herself another Bronze medal.

Lining up to run the 200M finale this was her last chance to walk away with Gold! Janessa feels more comfortable in the 200M as she is really strong coming off the turn. The gun goes off again, and again she is right near the front. Using the turn Janessa was able to sling shot herself into the lead. She was battling to the very end and after bursting through the finish line tape she looked up at the scoreboard to see she had become the fastest girl in the country in the 200M in the U13 division. Finally all of the hard work paid off. I asked her what she was thinking, and she told me "just remembering what my father and coach chris always tell me, which is to have a Gold Medal mindset."

Check out Janessa's 200M post race interview below.

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