Morolake Akinosunis a 2016 Olympic gold medalist in the 4x100m relay. She holds theIllinois State record in the 100m. After graduating fromWaubonsie Valley High School's's(IL) in 2012, she continued her academic and athletic career at the University of Illionis- Urbana Champaign and became a two time Big 10 champion. A few semesters later, Akinosun transferred to the University of Texas and her success continued. She became a six time Big 12 Champion and a 26 time All-American. Her journey didn't stop there. After graduating, she became a professional track sprinter for Nike. Along with being an Olympian, she is a World Champion and the 2017 indoor USA champion in the 60m.
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"Train hard. Not just physically, but mentally too. Train your mind to push your body past its known limits. Don't be too hard on yourself. You will fail and make mistakes, but don't let your mistakes cause you to give up on yourself. You are far greater than your failures and mistakes and you don't need to chase perfection to become the ultimate you."
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By Morolake Akinosun - Nike
Dear 17-year-old Morolake,
I know this must be very strange, receiving a letter from yourself. But don't worry, I'm here to help. I wish I had all the answers, all the problems solved, and everything figured out, but the truth is - I'm not sure we ever will.
I know you're wondering about some, so I'll cut to the chase and give you the answers you're dying to know.
Yes, you get a scholarship - to the University of Illinois, but you won't stay. You'll transfer to the University of Texas. You'll be very successful there. You'll sign a professional contract with Nike Athletics. You will win an Olympic gold medal and then a World Championships gold medal.
You'll completely rupture your Achilles tendon and need it to be surgically repaired. You'll then make another World Championships team and win a bronze medal. You'll look back at your life and wonder, "How in the world did I accomplish all of this?"
That's the part I can't tell you - because the journey is what makes it worth it. The journey is part of what made us who we are.
July 1st, 2011. That date has been written on the mirror for over a year now. Let me tell you this first - stop worrying. They're going to call.
I'm sure you hate reading this but listen to Mom & Dad. They have always, and will always, want the best for you - plus they know MUCH more about life than you do, especially right now.
I know it's not your dream school, but you need the University of Illinois. The University of Illinois will give you Coach Bailey, and she will be a part of your life for a very long time. It will give you a safe space to spread your wings when you leave home for the first time.
Train hard. Not just physically, but mentally too. Train your mind to push your body past its known limits. Don't be too hard on yourself. You will fail and make mistakes, but don't let your mistakes cause you to give up on yourself. You are far greater than your failures and mistakes and you don't need to chase perfection to become the ultimate you.
I'd be lying to you if I said we got to where we are with no pain. Life is not easy, so endure. Do not forget that, "All things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose" - Romans 8:28. Even the hard days, it's a part of the long term good.
Also remember this:
Don't be afraid to ask questions, no matter how outlandish or stupid you may think they are. The world is full of information. You just have to be willing and open to finding it.
You are beautiful. The world is cruel place. It was in 2011 and it still is in 2020. Don't let the world's view of life and beauty effect how you view yourself.
It's all worth it. Keep chasing your dreams and don't let anything or anyone stand in your way.
Most importantly, have fun. Take pictures. Enjoy your friends. Embrace your family. Endure the hard moment and brutal workouts. Then, pick up your phone and type out your goals: "Five years from now you'll be 22, graduating from a university you haven't picked yet & going to the Olympic Games." Tweet them to the world. Remember everything you've read - and don't worry, it'll all come true. You might even get to be on SportsCenter and Good Morning America for it (;
All my love,