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Olympian brings silver medal to Crestview to deliver a message

By Jim Fair, Editor
Published on Monday, September 22, 2014

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Fast thinking students got a lasting impression with a selfie.
 

Jim Fair

Fast thinking students got a lasting impression with a selfie.

 



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Manteo Mitchell, of Cullowhee, N.C., was given a lot of love from the Crestview Elementary students.
 

Jim Fair

Manteo Mitchell, of Cullowhee, N.C., was given a lot of love from the Crestview Elementary students.

 



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Students had their eyes and hands on the Olympic Silver medal Manteo Mitchell brought to Crestview Elementary Monday.
 
 

Jim Fair

Students had their eyes and hands on the Olympic Silver medal Manteo Mitchell brought to Crestview Elementary Monday.

 

 



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The Crestview Elementary auditorium was packed with students listening to Manteo Mitchell tell how he earned 3 degrees, and maintained a 3.7 GPA all the while training to reach his goal of making the U.S. Olympic 4 x 400 relay team for the London Games.
 

Jim Fair

The Crestview Elementary auditorium was packed with students listening to Manteo Mitchell tell how he earned 3 degrees, and maintained a 3.7 GPA all the while training to reach his goal of making the U.S. Olympic 4 x 400 relay team for the London Games.

 



Olympic silver medalist Manteo Mitchell looked around a packed Crestview Elementary School auditorium Monday morning and explained to the students the odds of making the 4 x 400 U.S. team.

“To make the Olympics only three of us in a room this big with this many of the best runners in the United States were going to make the team. I knew I was one of them, who in this room are the other two? The difference would be (1/100th) of a second,” Mitchell told the students.

Mitchell ran the first leg of the relay race that qualified the U.S. for the finals. However, halfway into the race, he told the children, “My leg snapped and I had to decide, do I continue or stop? I trained three to four years for 44 seconds and I didn’t want to let my team, family and USA down.”

By participating in a leg of the qualifying race Mitchell earned a silver medal.

Mitchell, 27, was on the first leg of the Subway restaurants “Fit for Life Challenge” campaign to promote healthy eating habits combined with physical activity to help reduce the adolescent obesity rate of one third, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Subway is providing schools with free materials to help students track their good eating and physical activity choices for any two-week period in October.

Mitchell, who lives and trains in Cullowhee, N.C., shared the pride he has in coming from a single family home and a drug infested neighborhood in Shelby, N.C., to earn three college degrees and maintain a 3.7 grade point average.

David Langston, principal at Crestview, said, “I know (the students) heard him but did they listen to him? A lot of work went into his making the Olympic team and earning a medal. I hope they listened when he told them he has three degrees and a 3.7 GPA.”

The children and teachers were invited to touch or hold his Olympic medal as they left the auditorium for a session with Mitchell outdoors.

“This is all about giving back,” Mitchell said. “I tell them never give up. People will doubt you. Refuse to take drugs, eat healthy and exercise and study hard.”

Mitchell answered questions submitted from some students.

Q: How old were you when you started the Olympics?

Patelyn Crawford

A: I was 25 when I competed in the Olympic Games. That is old (children laughed). I got a later start in running and I think I have another Olympics (Rio de Janeiro, 2016) I can run.

Q: Were you nervous when you started?

Keasia Jenkins

A: I am more nervous right now (speaking before students). The only time I get nervous is in practice. The way I practice about 6-7 hours a day you always want to improve. My coach is a very crazy, crazy man and he makes us do some different things in training.

Q: How can you run so fast and how can I run fast?

Sanchasity Dodd

A: If you are dedicated – whether you are a gymnast, swimmer or in any other sport you should want to be the best you want to be. You must be healthy, make the right decisions inside and outside of the classroom. Some people ask if it’s (my) shoes. No it’s not. It’s the work that goes into the shoes.

Q: Why did you keep running when you broke your leg?

Student unidentified

A: I literally trained very hard for the day of the race. It was a lot less about me and more about my teammates and my country. I didn’t want to let anybody down. My coach once asked me: Do you love to win or hate to lose? My answer is I hate to lose. I received my medal while I was rehabbing my leg, so that was my Olympic medal ceremony since I couldn’t walk.

 

 

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