“It is such an amazing feeling. My coaches were so pumped; this was the moment I’ve been waiting for. I gave it my all. I have cuts and bruises and a few burns but hey, I got a medal out of it.” – Shaunae Miller in Rio 2016
Most persons at the age of 22 are, these days, either in their final year of university, graduating college or looking for a job; not this Bahamian born sprinter
Shaunae Miller was born on April 15th 1994 in Nassau, Bahamas. At 6 ft 1 inches, the three-time world champion has sprinted her way into the big league where she competed in the Olympics in Rio this year and won the most recent gold medal in the women’s 400-meter event.
Prior to sponsorship with Adidas and becoming a professional athlete she attended the St. Augustine College in Nassau, Bahamas where she completed high school after which she attended the University of Georgia in Athens Georgia.
“I am very proud of her. I was very pleased to see how many shoe companies were interested in her and what they were offering. It was impressive… when Adidas made the offer to make the adjustments to keep her in school and still allow her to compete on the pro circuit; we decided to go with them.” – Shaun Miller, Shaunae Miller’s father.
In 2010 the prodigy competed in the women’s 400 meters at the Junior World Championships in Moncton, Canada and won a gold medal. She became the first Bahamian to cop a gold at her first World Youth Championships in 2011 in the women’s 400-meter; she was only sixteen at the time. She then moved on to the World Indoor Championships in 2014 and won bronze for her country. She progressed in ranks and won silver at the World Championships in Beijing in 2015 for the same women’s 400 meter race.
To this date, however, the most controversial win for Miller was the gold medal at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. She had set sights on competing in the Olympic Games in the women’s 400-meter, qualifying in the heats and landing her a spot to compete in the finals.
She took off briskly onto the tracks and at the very last moment, fate would have it that her legs would give way and she would buckle under the pressure of it all. She immediately took to the ground having taken the lead seconds before the finish line. Luckily her torso made it past the finish line prior to Felix’s.
“The only thing going through my mind was that I had to get the gold medal. It was such an amazing feeling to look up and see the scoreboard.” – Shaunae Miller in Rio.
Track fans and commentators judged Miller’s win as “cheap, classless and unfair towards Felix” however it was legal and had occurred on more than one occasion. For instance, looking back to 2012’s hurdler Jeff Porter or even 110m hurdler Joao Vitor de Oliveira at Rio 2016.
“We have come to expect it against in Olympic victories but Shanae miller’s gutsy, ungainly lunge across the Finish Line in the women’s 400-meter reminded us that winning isn’t always pretty.” – The New Yorker.
She, the commentators would say, ‘dived’ across the finish line of the women’s 400-meter beating America’s sweetheart Allyson Felix. The difference between Felix and Miller was 0.07 seconds; as a result Miller achieved a new personal-best of 49.44 seconds.
“I was thinking ‘Oh my gosh, I am laying on the ground right now, I don’t know what happened’. My mind just went blank. I heard my mom screaming. When I heard that, I was like ‘okay, I must’ve won the race’.” – Shaunae Miller at Rio 2016.
By Alexandra Daley