Youngsters learn track techniques from Olympians

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by GEORGE RIBA

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WFAA

Posted on July 14, 2013 at 10:55 PM

Updated Sunday, Jul 14 at 10:56 PM

McKINNEY — It's not an Olympic training center, but the coaching certainly lives up to Olympic standards.

"I don't want to see this arm up here because, we don't run that way. do we?" asked Michael Johnson as he barked instructions to a group of youngsters.

The four-time Olympic gold medalist is holding what he calls the ultimate athletic experience for young track athletes ranging in age from 9 to 18.

But it’s not just Johnson. Also on hand are fellow Olympians Melissa Morrison-Howard, a two-time Olympic bronze medalist; and Jamaican Olympic silver medalist Michael Blackwood.

By the time this training ends, a total of six former Olympians will have offered their advice.

"It's a good mix of those Olympians who have the experience from a practical standpoint, and then all of our Michael Johnson Performance coaches and trainers," Johnson said.

"In Jamaica, we normally start track and field at a very early age," Blackwood said. "I wish I was so lucky in Jamaica to get this type of expertise."

"I wish I had had that experience when I was younger, but I didn't have any Olympians within my grasp," Morrison-Howard added.

Summer training sessions can do wonders for young athletes, and when you have former Olympians teaching you, it can make all the difference in the world. Just ask nine-year-old Marquis Wortham from DeSoto.

"It feels good to be taught by Olympians, because it's like they've already been there," he said. "It got me to go faster, so now I'm going to the Junior Olympics in Detroit."

"I feel like I'm in good hands all the time, and I know that everything they're saying is right," said Tieren Gates of Paris, Texas. "I can just trust what I’m doing is going to help me."

It's valuable help and advice from world class athletes who have been there.

E-mail griba@wfaa.com

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