Posted: Jul 18, 2012 4:29 PM by Andrew Masuda
Updated: Jul 18, 2012 10:50 PM
Lompoc native Duane Solomon is in London already to prepare for his U.S. Olympic debut. He's still riding high after his Olympic dreams came true a few weeks ago.
Solomon's emotional celebration said it all when he clinched a spot on his first U.S. Olympic Team in the 800 meter final at the Olympic Trials in late June. "Just working for the Olympics my whole life, it's so hard to make the Olympic team especially for the U.S.A. so for me to actually do it and kind of live through a dream is awesome," said Solomon, during a phone interview with KSBY Sports.
His dream became a reality with a career-best run of 1:44.65 in the final to finish third and achieve the necessary Olympic A Standard time to qualify. He celebrated in Eugene with a victory lap on the same track where he fell less than half a second short of qualifying for the Beijing Olympics coming off a successful senior year at USC. Duane was a five-time All-American and won a total of three Pac 10 titles.
Solomon said he came into this year more confident and more prepared under the guidance of coach Johnny Gray. " I credit just kind of doing everything smart. This year, we had a plan and planned everything out so everything was mapped out," he said.
The 27 year old says his training since the Trials has been going great. He knows he has another personal-best left for London. "It's going to be all about business. I'm going to enjoy my time there. But it's like I got through one hurdle and now I have to get through another," said Solomon, who added he plans to take each day as it comes. "If I can get to the final and do what I've been doing I know that I can medal," he said.
The Lompoc native has come a long way since he won a C.I.F. State title in the 800 his senior year at Cabrillo and was named the Gatorade Boys Athlete of the Year. He has endured highs and lows as a professional, even struggling to find a sponsor three years ago before joining Team Saucony.
Solomon is grateful for his friends and family on the Central Coast for providing him inspiration to get him where he is today, London. "I just want to tell them thank you for the encouraging words and you guys motivated me to do what I do," he added. Solomon is hoping for some more motivating words as he goes for the Gold in London.
Solomon runs in the first round on Monday, August 6. The semifinals are set for August 7 with the final scheduled for August 9.
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