Trammell Honored; Talks Track, Memories, the Future
Terrence Trammell
 
Terrence Trammell

Sept. 17, 2006

Former National Athlete of the Year and two-time Olympic silver medalist Terrence Trammell was inducted into the University of South Carolina Hall of Fame this past weekend. He was joined by Bob Crombie, Tim Lewis, B.J. McKie, Willie Scott, Steve Taneyhill, and Tiff Tootle.

The three-year USC letterwinner in track and field was a 13-time All-American and a six-time NCAA champion. Trammell was named the 1999 SEC Athlete of the Year and the 2000 National Outdoor Athlete of the Year. He graduated in 2002 with a degree in Retail Management.

As a professional Trammell, a native of Decatur, Ga., has found more than his share of success. Foregoing his senior season when he signed a professional contract, he won a silver medal in the 110m hurdles at both the 2000 Sydney Olympics (13.16) and 2004 Athens Olympics (13.18).

He is a two-time World Indoor 60m hurdles gold medalist ('01 & '06), the 2003 World Outdoor 110m hurdles silver medalist and a three-time USA Indoor 60m hurdles champion (2000, '01 and `06) and was the 2002 USA Indoor 60m champion.

He has trained in Atlanta since 2002. He talked on Saturday evening (Sept. 16) after the half-time ceremony honoring the 2006 class (USC won 27-20 over Wofford).

USC: When they first called and told you had made the ballot to be inducted into the USC Hall of Fame, what did you think?

TT: I laughed, smiled big and said `Already? OK. Thank you. I appreciate it.' It took a minute for it to sink in because I just left, but I am grateful none-the-less. I just thank God that I was able to make an impact at USC and on the community like this.

USC: What are some of your fondest memories of being a student at USC?

TT: Coming to these games (football games). Listening to 2001 and anytime I had chance to put on my (USC) track uniform. It's hard to really put into words, but trying to be on top of my craft. Ivery time I competed I tried to do my best for Carolina and for myself.

USC: Any race that sticks out in your mind that you will never forget?

TT: My first NCAA Championship in Indianapolis and the 2000 Olympic Trials. Being able to make the Olympic team as a junior in an event that was dominated by older athletes. I think that just said a lot about what we had going at Carolina.

USC: How were you able to make the Olympic team? Was it coaching? You? A combination? Teamwork?

TT: It was a combination. Coach Frye and I had a goal when I first came to Carolina, which was to make the Olympic team in 2000 and after that our goal was to make the podium. Just being able to be here with (USC head) Coach Frye and Allen (Johnson, 1996 gold medalist) helped me mentally prepare.

USC: When you use to say you were going to win a medal or make the Olympic team your junior year and people would say `what?', did that give you more incentive?

TT: It did because I didn't feel like I was saying that out of arrogance or conceit. I really believed in my heart I could do it. I just think you have doubters in every facet of life and I think that the best thing you can do is not focus on that, but your task at hand. Just doing that and taking care of business will prove the doubters wrong.

USC: What message would you like to send to young athletes now?

TT: I think first to establish a goal and try to get as close to that goal as possible. Never settle for mediocrity. For the athletes that are at USC right now the stage has been set and the standard is already at the highest level so do your part to fulfill the tradition.

USC: Your junior year at the NCAA Indoor Championships you won the 60m and the 60m hurdles. You ran the 60m hurdles race first (winning with a time of 7.55 to the runner-up at 7.64) and then 30 minutes later you won the 60m (winning with a time of 6.54 to 6.61). The team was eighth. You beat some big-timers in that 60m race (see results immediately following). What do you remember about that magical weekend?

(2000 NCAA Indoors 60-meter dash results: 1. Terrence Trammell, South Carolina, 6.54; 2. Kim Collins, TCU, 6.61; 3. Lindel Frater, TCU, 6.63; 4. Shawn Crawford, Clemson, 6.67; 5. Leonard Scott, Tennessee, 6.68; 6. JaWarren Hooker, Washington, 6.68; 7. John Capel, Florida, 6.71; 8. Coby Miller, Auburn, 6.74.)

TT: I won the hurdles first. Then I won the 60m a bit later. As far as the 60m race, quite a few of them are Olympic and gold medalists (the 60m competitors). I set my mind to it and tried to prepare myself for everything that was coming. I stayed hydrated, stayed off my feet, got massages that weekend and tried not to go to bed too late. (the model athlete?): I guess. I was just so focused on my task. I knew it had never been done before. I wanted to be the first to do it.

It played another role this past year at the World Indoor Championships (he won the 60m hurdles and won the bronze in the 60m dash). I was the first one to medal in both.

I remember I hurt so bad after that NCAA meet (laughing). Physically I hurt so badly, but it was worth it because it was a precedent setting.

USC: There has been so much talk about drugs in track and field in the past couple of months. What would you tell kids who are in college or high school and want to run professionally? What message would you like to give to them?

TT: I still feel like it's the purest sport because it is based of individual merit and work ethic. Drugs are very short-lived. You really can't even enjoy any successes you've had because you will worry about whether or not you will get caught. That's one thing. The whole focus is be the best person you can be on and off the track. It all plays a key role; how you live your life is how you perform. I think drugs are short-lived and you can last longer if you do it the right way.

USC: You won the two silver medals in the last two Olympics. Will 2008 be your last Olympics or so you see yourself competing for a long time?

TT: At this point I want to go as long as I can. If Allen (Johnson is 35) is still running at his age I know I have that much longer I can potentially run (Trammell will be 28 in Nov.). My goal is to maximize my potential in the next few years. As far as the next few years, I would like to win three gold medals between 2007 and 2009 (2 Worlds + Olympics). Guess you can put that in the books (he says with a smile).

USC: How do you stay healthy? How do you stay motivated? Does it go back to winning the 60m and 60m hurdles at the 2000 NCAA Indoor meet?

TT: It's a lifestyle you have to have when you compete at this level. A lot of it is getting good rest, getting massages and going to chiropractors each week. We put our bodies through so much in our training, competing and traveling. I think just being able to take care of those types of things and eating right. I think that is what does it. At this point it isn't about training harder, it's about training smarter. I am still kind of learning that. I am almost to a point where I understand all that now, but I am still learning.

USC: Do you still have a desire to medal in the 100m, 200m, and 400m? Any goals out there?

TT: I would like to try the 100m in 2008 as well. I ran a few more 100m races this year and next year I will run more 100m and 200m races. I want to prepare for 2008.

USC: After you are done competing, what are some of your goals and aspirations?

TT: I would like to let track and field propel me to other things. I would probably like to do some public speaking and some motivational speaking. (how about coaching?) (he smiles): I would probably want to coach high school football. I really would.

USC: Speaking of football, do you ever think about what could have been if you'd played college football? You chose a USC track and field scholarship over an Alabama football scholarship.

TT: Sure, I think about that. I still have an itch to play, but the cards were dealt the way they were. It's always good to come back to USC football games. I kind of live vicariously through the Carolina football team. (do you watch the Gamecocks a lot?): I try to. I try to a lot. Of course I am a big advocate of Carolina football and track. I have friends who aren't big Carolina fans and I stick it in there and hold it down for them. I let them know about Carolina.

USC: Anything else you'd like to say to the Carolina fans?

TT: It's just so good to be here. I am honored to be in the Hall of Fame and grateful. It's just really good to be here.