Diversity in Track & Field Shaped Maddie Kopp's Future

A gymnastics background helped shape Maddie Kopp's track and field career.

When Kopp's parents first suggested she find a school-related sport in high school over a decade ago, she felt the jumps would be a great place to start, as she was a gymnast who sprinted down runways and propelled forward.

Kopp didn't picture herself ever being a mid-distance runner. Initially, her high school coach at Spencerport (NY) had her sprint a few races and contribute on a few relays. But soon enough, she became an elite high school recruit. 

As she transitioned from high school to Duke, she continued to work on the sprints throughout her collegiate career. Her first 800m didn't come about until her senior year. 

Her coach noticed her strength in the longer sprints, which led to the decision of running the 800m. From there, as they say, the rest was history.

But don't misunderstand, either. There were moments where she felt like a fraud. She qualified for the NCAA Outdoor Championships in 2017 for an event that she just started to discover that she had potential in. Kopp felt like she didn't deserve to be on the starting line with a few of the best 800m runners in the world -- since her 800m journey bloomed later compared to others. 

But it wasn't long before she began to tell herself, "I deserve to be here too." Now, after a successful college career, she's a professional athlete for Under Armour. Kopp is scheduled to compete at the 757 Showdown this weekend in Virginia Beach. 

Overview of Interview:

[00:37] -- How have you been mentally over the last few months and how has training been for you?

[2:28] -- How are you able to still focus and keep those goals in mind as you're pivoting during this pandemic?

[04:24] -- Take us back to high school. How did the sprints and jumps form you into the 800m runner we know you as of today?

[07:40] -- When you were adjusting to the 800m after being a sprinter, how have the workouts changed?

[09:42] -- Looking back at your journey, was there anything you would have changed to blossom sooner for the 800m?

[10:53] --  Besides the adjustments you made, what were some of the challenges you faced and how did you endure those?

[13:30] -- How has training with your Under Armour group given you an opportunity to be able to put yourself into unique situations while competing?

[16:10] -- What would be your race strategy for someone who has speed versus a runner who has endurance in the 800m?

[18:00] -- What are the goals that you're looking to achieve this year outside of making the Olympic team?

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