GOLDZONE II Press Conference Quotes

April 21, 2006

79th Kansas Relays Quotes
GOLDZONE II Press Conference Quotes
April 21, 2006

Bershawn “Batman” Jackson, 400 meter Hurdler
On why he came to the Kansas Relays:
“When I was at my `down-and-out’ stage they were there for me. It is all loyalty. For them to be there and let me get my talent established again, it meant a lot. From now until I retire, you will see me at the Kansas Relays.”

On what makes the Kansas Relays special:
“The atmosphere, the crowd, the place and the people in general. Tim Weaver (Meet Director) has been a great guy to me from day one. A lot of people, in general, like to be around athletes because of their talent but he has been cool with me even when I was getting my butt kicked. When I came here, I was out of high school and they made me feel like I was bigger than I was. That motivated me and I’ll be here now until I retire.”

On his opponents:
“I do not stereotype. Anyone that steps onto the track is my enemy and we are all out for the same reason: to be the best, to be victorious and to support our families. So everyone that steps on that track is my competition.”

On the nickname “Batman”:
“I got my nickname from running summer track at Junior Olympics. The first time I ran the hurdles and I snuck into the 80m hurdles and I did pretty well. When I ran the hurdles they said I had big ears and that I was flying past the others when I run and they gave me the nickname Batman. From high school to college, from college to professional, it just kept with me.”

Jacob Pauli, Men’s Pole Vaulter
On his win at last year’s Relays:
“It was awesome. That was the story of my whole season; being in the same field with the 2000 and 2004 Olympic champion, the World Champ from 2003. It would always go like this; `Toby Stevenson, Nick Hysong, and oh by the way, this guy (Pauli) won. We don’t know who he is.’ I enjoy that. That is a fun place to be right now. I am still pretty young in the pole vault world, and I’m sure that one day, if this keeps up, I will be the guy that the younger guys will want to take on.”

On his opinion of the Relays:
“This is awesome. I came and I won this meet while I was in college. I had not been here for a few years, and then I came and won last year. It was cold, but we had good weather as far as pole vaulting goes. That is the number one thing I am looking forward to. Tomorrow is going to be the best day, weather wise, of my entire season. I really want to jump high. I have been having good training sessions, and I am just focused on trying to jump as high as I can tomorrow.”

On the Pole Vaulting Field:
“There are four 19-footers in the field including the 2001 Olympic champ. I wouldn’t be surprised if somebody jumped 19-4, which is a World Championship winning mark. It is just going to be a beautiful day tomorrow. Simply perfect conditions is the key to jumping.”

On how he likes to pump up the crowd:
“My biggest nightmare is watching a pole vaulting competition and somebody jumps really high, and they just walk off the field and nobody notices. I like to flex my muscles.”

Allyson Felix, Women’s Sprinter
On her first race of the season being at the Kansas Relays:
“I’m just excited. It’s our first race out and we are anxious to go and see where we are at. It’s still really early but we are excited to be here. It’s so early that for right now I will be focusing mainly on technical things. It won’t be until later when you can evaluate (my performance).”

On turning professional after high school:
“It’s been an adjustment for me because going from high school to professional is different, but I am happy with the decision I made and I think I have really made it work for me. I have just taken things slow so that I still have time to develop.”

Muna Lee, Women’s Sprinter
On her first race of the season being at the Kansas Relays:
“I’m excited. It’s been a different year for me. Training with Allyson (Felix) has been fun so I think I am pretty ready, but it has still been a lot different.”

Torri Edwards, Women’s Sprinter
On American women’s sprinting:
“I think we have a lot of great talent in the United States, along with great coaches. Every year there is probably going to be someone coming out of college or high school that is running really well.”

On her personal expectations for this weekend:
“It’s still early in the season. I’m running the 200 meter this weekend mainly for conditioning. I won’t open up with my 100 meter until later.”

On the Kansas Relays:
“We came to support our teammate Maurice Green. It is his hometown meet so we decided to come out here and have a good time with him.”

Angela Williams, Women’s Sprinter
On the year’s goals:
“This year is going to be a different year for us because there are no Olympics or World Championships. It’s a blessing that we have a year like this because there is not a lot of pressure on us. It give us time to set personal goals for us to achieve. It will be a fun year when I can go to a bunch of meets and work on some things.”

Maurice Greene, Men’s Sprinter/4×100
On comments by Trevor Graham that Sprint Capital would be running against the clock:
“Well, that’s good for him. As I recall, we have never lost a relay here. So they could be running against the clock, but the clock will be behind us.”

“I will say this: People have had much more success against me when they don’t say anything. But the success rate when you do say something before the race, you aren’t going to get anywhere.”

On his training:
“As long as you can stay healthy and train the way you need to, and keep competing as long as you have a love for the sport, you can keep going on.”

On the Relays:
“I love this. This is where I grew up. Just having all of the people who saw me when I was eight years old coming to see me when I am older now, it is a lot of fun. I love to come back here and run and compete for all of the fans here and just put on a great show. I like to put on a show.”

On his confidence:
“I love competition, but one thing I know is that the people in the stands love to see what I do, so I love to give them my best. With that, I have to go out with the confidence to be able to truly believe that I can do the unbelievable things that people have seen me do over the years.”

John Smith, HSI Coach
On Trevor Graham’s Comments about HSI:
“I think they ran last week, and they didn’t win. So we might as well keep it the same way. But in fun, it is really nice to be here. It’s nice to have a spring day. More importantly, whatever is said is just in fun, becuase we all are wanting to do this for the fans. We come here for a chance to train and to sharpen our skills up. Whatever is said is just fun, but at the same time, the clock is round, but what comes around goes around. Be careful what you say.”

Leonard Smith, 4×100, HSI
“People who know me know that I am not a big talker. But whenever I do say something it is usually a strong statement. And for me to say something, you are in trouble, because I step my game up even more. Don’t lay down a challenge like that if you can’t come out here and back it up.

Justin Gatlin, 4×100, Sprint Capital
On his life after the Olympics:
“It has been a great experience, obviously, but with it comes privelege and responsibility. After the Olympics, you immediately have that target on your back. You always have to preform like a champion.”

On facing HSI:
“HSI has always brought big-game competition to every race it has been in. Our Sprint Capital team has a lot of guys that are coming into their own as well. I think it will be a great matchup. It is not just me and Maurice. You have to understand that me and Maurice will be on the fourth leg. If the stick doesn’t get around, we will just be looking around.”

On his Olympic aspirations:
“Every day is a new day, every day a new sprinter is born. Every day you take a step towards Beijing and you hope you take the right step.”

Hobson’s Choice
Al Hobson, Head Coach
On the Kansas Relays:
“I am just happy to be here. I have been coming to the Relays for 20 years. I can remember back when Maurice (Greene) was in high school. Prior to him winning the KU high school events, his brother won three in-a-row. He (Maurice) came back the next three years and he won three in-a-row. We have had a lot of success here.”

On Saturday’s race:
“I know we have some fast runners here. HSI is always a great team. And anytime you have Justin Gatlin on the line you have a problem. We didn’t come here to finish in second or third place. I still plan on winning.”

On staying young:
“The kids are keeping me young. I am going on 66 years old and I don’t feel 66. I get ticked off at them, we hug each, we joke, we play. But those same emotions, I feel, are keeping me going.”

Rae Edwards, 4×100, Hobson’s Choice
On the race:
“I think we are going to win. I respect Maurice (Greene) and I respect (Justin) Gatlin because they are legends, but for me to be a man and for me to be a sprinter, I can’t say that this man is better than me. I am sure we are going to win.”

Mardy Scales, 4×100 Hobson’s Choice
On Saturday’s race:
“It is going to be good competition. We don’t go to practice every day and bust our tails to come in second.”