Monday, March 8, 2010

Introducing: David Oliver

I knew David would be perfect as an interviewee because his personality is about as big as his frame. Pretty darn huge. If you want to know what’s on his mind, all you have to do is ask…just be prepared to hear the truth! He possesses an unbelievable confidence, whether it’s on the starting line or in front of the mirror. The good thing is, he backs it up.

Nickname: D.O the King
Most Notable Performance: Olympic Bronze Medalist - 110 hurdles
Follow him on twitter: doliversub13

*Anyone who has seen you race, knows that you come on strong the last part of the 110 hurdles. What does this say about the future if you are making Indoor teams against a strong field in the 60-meter hurdles?

You’re absolutely right. I am more of an outdoor hurdler, but that’s the thing I love about indoors, having the ability to try to perfect the beginning part of my race in live competition. I believe that I am able to make indoor teams because I train strength and technique base specifically. I believe that if you have good technique, you can neutralize most people’s speed and that’s what I rely on. Of course you will not beat the upper echelon of the event indoors, but we concern ourselves with outdoors and you are more likely to get lucky and nail the start than you are to get lucky and magically have the ability to finish a race. You can see that if you watch the race from this past year’s indoor national championship.

*Word on the street is that some women tend to find you quite attractive. Normally it’s the women who tend to have the crazy stalker stories, but do you have any of your own that have managed to shock you?

LOL, yeah, I guess they find me attractive. Honestly, I don’t have any crazy stalker type stories to tell that are of the PG variety LOL. But of course I run across my fair share of outta pocket behavior from some young women and yes it is shocking.

*Your outdoor PR is from a race in Doha back in 2008. What are some of your tips and tricks to traveling so far and still being able to compete at your best?

This will mark my fourth consecutive year making this long trip to Doha, and fortunately, I have run well every time. I believe the best tip that I can give is to tell people to take on my mindset. Whether I am running in Doha, Shanghai or at my training facility, I view it is just another ten (in this case five) hurdles in a different place. I am fortunate that I have had the ability to travel well throughout my career; I’ve shown up to places the day of competition and run personal bests. I try to just get on time schedule immediately and more times than not, it means torturing myself the first day by not allowing myself to go to sleep once I get in. If I make it in a eight in the morning, I will be up until around ten at night, just to get acclimated.

*I understand your quite shy but if you had to pick your favorite physical feature, what would it be and why?

I don’t know if shy is the right word to use, maybe a bit reserved lol. But I definitely think my best feature is my smile, I go with that only because I hear that a lot, but honestly I feel I’m a head to toe kind of guy so I would say everything is my favorite physical feature!

*What is the biggest myth about professional track and field that you’d like to set the record straight on?

The biggest myth that I’d like to set straight is that we are not out in Europe or Asia or wherever just hanging out. This is our job. I’ve had people tell me “I wish I could just go to Europe and hang out and run and stuff.” This is our profession. I don’t wish I could go to your job at Wal Mart and “just hang out and ring up customers and stuff.” We definitely aren’t hanging out, we are taking care of business and the travel isn’t all what it’s cracked up to be.

*After the World Indoor Championships, what are your goals for this year, being that there is no Outdoor Championships?

My primary focus will to be run faster outdoors than I ever have before. I love competing, whether it’s a World Championship or Olympic year or not. Just having the ability to do what it is that I love to do is good enough for me. Being seriously injured last year made me appreciate being able to head out to meets and practice and have the ability to run hurdles so I embrace that and I actually run like it may be my last meet because you never know when it may actually be the last time you have an opportunity to compete.

*You call yourself the “King”. What do you feel you need to do during the rest of your career to ensure that that moniker is appropriate?

LOL, that’s something that has nothing to do with track and field or any sport for that matter, it’s just a moniker that I picked up from my friends during my early years in college. I understand what you are asking though. I feel that in order to be one of the top guys in our chosen event, you’ve got to keep pushing the envelope. I feel that what we think is fast now will be ordinary at some point in time during my life span so I train everyday to try to make the impossible possible. You see people doing it across a wide range of events. Every time someone sets a world record, that’s view as doing something that no one had ever done previously, so I would love to be able to say that I did something better than anyone ever had done it.

*As confident as you are, I still find you to be extremely humble. How do you keep from crossing over that fine line?

It is a very fine line and that line becomes blurred at times too. We as professional athletes in an individual sport have to have supreme confidence in our ability to go out there and do our stuff better than anyone else can do on any given day. But in turn, I know that I am blessed to be in a position that not many people will ever have the opportunity to be in and I don’t take that for granted. As hard as I worked to get in this position, it can be taken away so easily, all it takes is one mistake and that mistake can turn your world upside down, so I definitely realize that and try to stay humble even with all the glory and praise I may receive.

*Can you please share your favorite D.O. saying?

“Winners find a way to win, losers find a way to lose” I got that from my coach one of the very first days I met him and that phrase speaks volumes. It transcends across all barometers of life, whether it’s personal life or in sports. No one is born a winner or a loser, but the decisions we make lead us down a path to either becoming a winner or a loser. I wasn’t the best runner when I started and I did an awful lot of losing, but I feel the decisions and sacrifices I made helped me become a winner. If you don’t like being a loser, it is very easy for you to change that.

*Do you think you could be world-class in any other event besides the high hurdles? What about another sport?

There’s no way I think I could be world class in any other event other than the high hurdles, maybe the 400 hurdles, but if you took the hurdles out of the sport period, then I’d be somewhere working a 9-5 job. I’m too slow to be a sprinter and too big to run distance. I know I could have made it in football if I tried, I’m sure I could have gotten a shot if that’s the path I wanted to take. 6’3’’, 210 pounds, can rep 225 pounds 16 times and I’m sure I could have given a good 40 yard dash time, maybe I would have been playing on Sundays.

*(Blog Reader Question) Have you ever been recognized by someone well-known that you would not have expected to know who you are?

I have been recognized by several well know individuals, but I think that people should know who we are! We are professional athletes just like they are in football and basketball, they are recognized, so I feel we should be as well! But the lead up to the Olympics and the Olympic Games themselves really garnered me a lot of attention which is cool, it feels good to actually be recognized for your hard work from time to time and it feels better because it’s earned and not just given gratuitously.


deaulivery said...

I liked your interview. Good insight into D O's running "duty". Plus I liked his line: "I don’t wish I could go to your job at Wal Mart and “just hang out and ring up customers and stuff." LOL

Stephen said...

Good read. I hope the rest are as good as this one. The interview is linked to the front page of Maybe you'll pick up some new readers.

Anonymous said...

Great start on the interviews

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Arie Jones said...

because I really appreciate what your doing, I'm going to comment on them all!

I really like the part where you asked him what he thought his best physical feature was! Also the walmart comment as well!

He's a hoot!

Bianca said...

Great review, Bri.

Keep 'em rolling!

Brianna said...

thanks guys! glad you liked it. :)

NDAMIX said...

Great read...I've known David since he started on this journey during his Howard University days. It's great to see his journey has taken him far and provided him great accolades by proviing there are no short-cuts to success.

NDAMIX said...

Great read about David's journey as an elite athlete competing at the high levels of competition. I've been fortunate to know David since he began his journey at Howard University.

Watching David mature from an athlete competing @ the MEAC & the NCAAs to one grabbing spots on the U.S. National Team shows there are no short-cuts to success. To achieve one's dream, one has to work hard, sacrifice, and constantly work at improving one's craft.

David & Brianna, thank you for publicizing your athletic and personal journeys.

Dana said...

Awesome interview Brianna and thanks for sharing David "D.O. the King"! I know your intentions were to let us see more into the lives of these great athletes Brianna, but more than anything, this was one of the best motivational interviews (for me) that I've read in a long time. I'm a has been athlete (gymnast), and the things I learned about being the best all came down to two things - HARD WORK and CONFIDENCE. I needed this kick in the butt reminder today. Things in my life aren't bad, but they aren't great and it's good to hear the reminder that it's a choice. You choose to be a winner or a loser. From the bottom of my heart, thank you guys for reminding me of that!

LaLa said...

Loved it Brianna! Great choice, I stalk D.O. in my mind...I ain't afraid to admit it! LOL

Brianna said...

@dana...that's awesome! it actually is a great message. :)

@Lala...LOL. funny!