Olympian shot putter Michelle Carter hitting prime of her career

Posted Wednesday, Jul. 31, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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More information 2013 IAAF World Championships Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow Aug. 10-18

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Former University of Texas shot putter and Olympian Michelle Carter is the American record holder in the shot put with a throw of 66 feet, 5 inches at the 2013 U.S. Outdoor Track and Field Championships.

She’s also a frequent visitor to the Fort Worth Stockyards.

“One of my favorite things to do is go down to the Stockyards and hang out,” said Carter, a graduate of Red Oak High School who lives in Ovilla.

Carter, daughter of former San Francisco 49ers and SMU great Michael Carter, is scheduled to compete in the IAAF World Championships in Moscow, Aug. 10-18. Her father still holds the national high school record in the shot put with a throw of 81 feet, 31/2 inches in 1979 and won a silver medal at the 1984 Olympics.

Michelle Carter, 27, finished 15th at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and sixth at the 2012 London Games and is targeting the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Carter, who recently participated in the Michael Johnson Performance camp in McKinney, is a frequent speaker at camps and youth events.

What’s it like doing these kinds of events and speaking to kids? For me, it’s important to reach back out to the community. People see me around town and say they thought I moved to California or something to get away. They come off with this idea that I’m untouchable or something because of my success. Actually, I was a kid once, too, and used to do this stuff. The message I’m trying to send them is that these things are possible if you’re able to work for them.

Where do you feel like you’re at in your career? I feel like historically for a female shot putter, I’m hitting the beginning of the prime of my career. In this sport, the closer you get to your late 20s and early 30s, the longer you’ve done this, the more you kind of get on auto-pilot. You kind of know what you’re doing and you kind of have an idea of how to build off of each year.

What got you started throwing the shot? People assume it was my dad, but he actually was stand-offish at first. He just flat-out asked me if I knew what I was stepping into. As a matter of fact, I hadn’t even considered what he had done in his career, I had only considered the fact that when I transferred, I went to a school where basketball was already in midseason and I couldn’t really join the team at that point. I was encouraged to look at track and field as an option and I was like, ‘OK, I’ll give it a go.’ At first I was like, ‘wait, you want me to run or something, because I’m not really into that.’ And they were like, ‘no you can throw the shot and the discus.’ That’s when I went home and told Mom and Dad. And Daddy was just like, ‘Did anyone talk to you about this or push you into it?’ He was really concerned, but I honestly thought it was cool. That’s really how it started.

What sold you on it after those first couple of throws? For me, it wasn’t hard. I mean yeah, the shot was heavy, but it wasn’t something that I couldn’t get used to. So most people are like, no it’s too heavy, but really I just knew that I could get used to it was the main thing.

What was your fondest moment at the University of Texas? Winning the indoor and outdoor titles in the same season. Those were great times. We had a killer squad. We had the top two and three people in the country in every event. Of course, I was the only shot putter. We had some heavy hitters. For us to finally win a national championship, that was one of my favorite moments.

Texas women’s coach Bev Kearney resigned after being accused of having an inappropriate relationship with an athlete. She’s suing the school. What are your thoughts on the situation and how much did she impact your career? Well, Bev was the head coach and I certainly was around her some, but my regular coach was Rose Brimmer. It was an unfortunate situation. There were things that went on that you make choices and as an adult, and like she always said, you have to live with those choices and the ramification of them.

What are your next goals? I’m never happy with how far I throw. I’m just one of those people that automatically thinks I can do better. I mean, I just threw 66 feet and something and I know I can do better than that. Of course, I’ve got Rio on my mind, but I’ve got the World Championships as well. There is still a lot to accomplish.

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