Hammer Time is a special event being planned to kick off the U.S. Olympic Trials this summer. Instead of Eugene, Beaverton, Oregon will be the site of the competition. The Nike World Headquarters will be transformed to showcase these special athletes and lead everyone toward the later festivities down south. With Hayward Field being the historical and iconic site that it is, we wondered what the athletes really thought about this unique separation. Britney Henry filled us in.
Even being a two-time All-American, a PAC-10 champ and a University of Oregon school record holder, Britney has still improved by leaps and bounds since graduating from college. She has since been ranked 2nd in the US and 14th in the World and thrown a personal best of 71.27 meters (233 feet, 9 1/2 inches). Currently she spends most of her time in San Diego, training at the Olympic Training Center, where she is close to family and friends, but moves up to Eugene for one week every month to get one-on-one instruction from her throwing coach Lance Deal. She is an active voice in the female athlete world, keeping a regular blog and doing all she can to raise awareness about sports and the importance of following dreams.
Were you training in Eugene in 2008 last time the Trials were here? Did you compete in them?
Yes I was living and training here and did compete in them.
Tell us a little about how your attitude and expectations might be different now coming into this meet than in 2008.
I had just graduated from college and was new to the career. I am coming into this one with a much more stable mindset- more prepared to compete as a professional. I’ve learned how to think, train my mind, to calm my nerves, what I need to do physically and mentally to be ready on the day of competition. I see myself as a contender for this team.
How do you feel about Hammer Time and it being separated from the rest of the festivities in Eugene?
I’m really excited! I think any opportunity to get exposure for the hammer is great! This will showcase the event in a new crowd (Portland). It’s always fun for us to be able to show people what we do.
Aside from your competition, what are you looking forward to most about the Trials this summer?
(Laughs)…the Beer Garden! It will be fun to come down to Eugene after our competition is over and just chill out watching the races.
What do you foresee being the biggest hassle/challenge in the overall Trials experience?
I have it nice; when I come down to Eugene, I stay with my coach (kind of off the grid) which keeps me out of the crowds. I would definitely encourage people to do that, check out restaurants outside of the main areas. Personally, the worst thing for me is the POLLEN! It hits me pretty hard.
Do you think you have any advantages, being based and training in Eugene?
Yeah, people may still recognize my name from when I competed at the University of Oregon, but I think events here are fun for everyone because the track fan base really understands the sport. They know what a good mark is and when to cheer and get excited!
Do you have anything/anywhere specific in Eugene that you would recommend other athletes and spectators check out when they visit this summer?
Cornucopia is definitely one of my favorites- the one on 17th, they have a good menu and good beer! I also like Roaring Rapids Pizza in Springfield.
Stay in the ‘ring’ with Brittany from now until the Trials by following her on
Facebook- Britney Henry
and her personal blog- http://britneyhenry.blogspot.com/
or her Project- http://thebritneyhenryproject.blogspot.com/