Diamond Dixon captures Olympic gold, returns to campus
- Aug. 19, 2012
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Diamond Dixon, donning U.S. Olympic team apparel and a gold medal draped around her neck, spoke to reporters at the Anderson Family Football Complex on Wednesday about her experience in London.
Dixon, a junior, ran in the semifinal heat of the 4×400-meter relay and received a gold medal for her team’s first place finish in the final at the London 2012 Summer Olympics. She is the first female track runner in University of Kansas history to compete at the Olympics, and is now the first female from the university to win gold. Dixon is also the only NCAA athlete who won a gold medal in a track event at the London Games.
At the press conference Wednesday, her blue Ralph Lauren jacket featured a patch over her heart that read “United States Olympic Team” circling an American flag and the Olympic rings.
“It was nothing but an honor,” Dixon said of representing her country in London. “There’s so many people in the world that probably dream to go to the Olympics and me being one of the people to go and actually come out with a gold medal is amazing. It’s a great feeling.”
That feeling was something that Dixon had always dreamed of, and she worked hard to make it a reality. Dixon said she remembered a day of training when she ran up and down hills in the rain and wondered, “Why am I running track? I could pick any sport but this.”
Through it all, Dixon stuck with track and achieved one of her goals. However, her dream of standing on the podium and singing “The Star-Spangled Banner” did not come true. Her gold medal was not available immediately after the event in London; it was not given to her until she was back in the U.S.
Kansas track and field coach Stanley Redwine drove Dixon to Kansas City International Airport to get her medal from Tim Weaver, the relay manager for Team USA, who was on his way back from London. It was coach Redwine who finally placed the medal around Dixon’s neck.
“It was a great moment for both of us,” Dixon said. “It was something that we both accomplished.”
Dixon said there is a love-hate relationship between she and Redwine because of the way he pushes her to always train harder. Redwine is never satisfied and believes Dixon can keep improving. However, Dixon said that after placing the gold medal around her neck, her coach showed a rare smile.
This time, it was Dixon who was not satisfied after the 50.15 second split time she ran in the semifinal relay. Although the time was a personal record, she had hoped for a time under 50 seconds. But Redwine said he was proud of her for running a smart race.
“He said I did awesome,” Dixon said. “He said he was proud of me and I love those words when he says them.”
As the only NCAA athlete in London to win gold in track , there is reason to believe that Dixon could qualify for the 2016 Olympics for her individual open event, the 400-meter, which Dixon said is her goal. She will also be a favorite at the NCAA Championship this year in the event.
There is still room for improvement, though. Redwine is never satisfied and neither is Dixon. But for now, she is happy.
“I just basically ran my heart out.” Dixon said. “That’s just how I run.”
— Edited by Nikki Wentling