Before I get into specifics...
I'll start by saying this is not a comprehensive list of people I'd like to thank. That means you shouldn't get butt-hurt if I don't mention you specifically. If you've had any impact whatsoever on my life then just know I appreciate it greatly. I've had so many comments, messages, and tweets from friends and family around the clock since I made the Olympics and seeing the outpouring of love and encouragement has meant the world to me.
I apologize for the lateness of this post. I've written and re-written this post in my head so many times, but every time I've sat down to type it out, my mind has gone blank. I finally managed to force myself to sit down and bang it out. I know I'll never be fully satisfied with this, as I feel I'm not thanking everyone enough or really expressing just how grateful I am, but it'll have to do.
Now onto the thanks!
My Mom + Family
I, of course, have to start with the person that has shaped and supported me from birth: my mom.
My biggest inspiration in everything I do, she knows just how many curve balls life can throw at you, and has always helped me to deal with said curve balls. On those days when I couldn't see how I could get past those bad days, she was always there to assure me that it's never too late to turn things around. While she sometimes wonders why I love track so much, she always supports me in whatever way she can, and that's all that matters. Thanks, Mommy!
Thanks to my brother and the rest of my family that made sure to send their support from wherever they were in the world.
I love you guys! ♥︎
Ghana Athletics Association
I would never have dreamed 4 years ago that I would have the chance to go to the Olympics. Let's not even talk about actually competing in them.
3 years ago I was approached by the GAA coordinator for foreign-based athletes, Andrew Owusu, and my now teammate and good friend, Flings, about giving running for Ghana a chance. I was super skeptical at first, but after talking to the president of the association, Francis Dodoo, and my coaches, I decided not to let the rare opportunity pass me by.
Along the way, I've found people to look to for advice and support for years to come. I will be forever grateful for everything they have done for me, and for opening up a world of possibilities I never thought was possible.
No one is just born with amazing athletic abilities.
Weeeell, some people are, but they need to grind and work at their crafts to get to their full potential. Just like anyone else, I've had to (and still continue to) learn to run. I went from not knowing how to use starting blocks to trying to hit that Olympic standard in 4 years, and I couldn't have gotten to that point if it weren't for my coaches, past and present.
Thanks to Coach Robyne Johnson (aka Coach J) for letting me walk onto the Boston University track team and for always telling things as they are, on and off the track. I was super reluctant to give running on the team a try, but once I was on it, I never wanted to leave. I will always look back on Coach J and the BU track team as one of the major turning points in not just my track career, but also my life.
Thanks to Gabe Sanders for giving me the strongest of foundations a runner could ask for. I remember the exact moment at practice when I realized maybe I had some potential. Without those 4 years of constant failing, learning, and trying all over again I never would've fallen in love with the sport that is track and field (or athletics, as the rest of the world refers to it).
Thanks to Greg Lambert, who grabbed his own big opportunity and picked up a stray in the process. Despite all my awkwardness, we somehow manage to make it work. While I didn't get to experience the full 'Lambert coaching experience', I'm super excited for what's to come.
And last but certainly not least, thanks to the man behind the scenes, Glenn Harris, who manages to keep my scrawny limbs as strong as they can be. I'll probably always do some sort of lifting in my life thanks to Glenn, and I can't wait to get back into shape with all his enthusiastic yells and words of wisdom.
For those that don't know my story, I joined my high school track team on a whim.
My close friends were doing it to boost their college resumes, which I thought was a great idea, so I followed their lead. I ran a completely different race back then, though (I even did a couple of years of cross country, if you can believe that). What I gained from my friends, classmates, and teachers in high school, was to always see where my potential can take me. I remember going back and forth on whether to try and run for BU, and everyone I asked always gave a resounding "YES!". After all, what did I have to lose?
Making the Ghana Olympic team has brought in an outpouring of support from old friends, classmates, and teachers, some of which I was sure would've forgotten me by now, haha. I've appreciated all the love and support I've gotten over these past few weeks. I haven't been able to reply to them all, but just know I've read everything and that I'm proud to say I went to Wilby High School with all of you.
Friends and Teammates
I'd like to say thanks for believing in me before I even believed in myself.
Thanks to Amber, Jade, Kenneth, and Etinosa who said running for Ghana wasn't such a crazy idea after all. Thank you to Justin, Toria, Djenne, Tessa, David, and Osi, who are constantly reminding me that I shouldn't shy away from any of my accomplishments.
Thanks to Nikko and Sarah for being those friends I can always hit up randomly and just do whatever with.
Probably one of the funniest and most real messages I got was from Osi, when I was being weird about calling myself an Olympian:
ACCEPT IT & OWN IT! All we're doing is sitting on our couches while you're running against celebrities lol
As you can see, Osi isn't afraid to tell me to man up
Thank you to my best friends, Jennifer and Brandi, for being there through the ups and downs of school and track, and Shari, Kevin, and Delrecole for finding your way to my random BU track meets some way or another.
Thanks to my track babies, Maya and Ebony, for making me enjoy the art of "coaching" and letting me find ways to lead by example on the daily.
There are so many people I'm sure I'm leaving out, so I apologize in advance. Just know I've never felt so much outpouring of love and strength from all the people in my life, and I'll remember it in these coming years.
THANK YOU ♥︎
Photography by: Andrew Owusu, Delrecole Gales, and I