Every day during the Olympics, SIOC will feature an Olympian who's also a college student. Today, Virginia Tech junior and 400m hurdle competitor Queen Harrison chats about her medal-wearing plans, Chicken lo Mein and Chris Brown.
This interview was conducted before Olympic competition began. Queen advanced to Monday's semifinals, but failed to qualify for the finals after finishing seventh out of eight in her heat.
Name: Queen Harrison
School: Virginia Tech
Olympic event: 400m hurdles
Hometown: Richmond, Va.
What is the best part of being in the Olympics?
Just being a part of the USA team is really the best part. It gives you a great sense of patriotism representing your country on such a large scale.
How'd you get your start in your sport?
I actually started track in middle school. I was primarily a basketball player and then in the spring time I went out for the track team in sixth grade just for something to do. I didn't start hurdles until my sophomore year in high school, and that is really when I started to get serious in track. I stopped playing basketball and focused on indoor and outdoor track.
Do you have any superstitions or good luck charms?
I think one thing that's funny is I bring a whole bunch of water to the line. I have to bring my water bottle up to the line before my races. I think it kind of calms my nerves when I drink it. One thing I do, I usually wear a purple stripe in my hair. I did that at the trials. I actually started it at our regional track meet and I did really well there and I was like maybe I should do this more often.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I'm really hoping to still be running. I feel that is really the prime of your life especially in track and I want to be pursuing that dream. And hopefully I will have made two more Olympic teams by then and be in the meat of my career.
If you could take part in any Olympic sport besides your own, what would it be?
It would definitely be basketball.
What's the best Olympic freebie you've gotten so far?
I actually won't get stuff until we go to San Jose for processing. I am looking forward to the Polos and lounge wear. Pretty much everything. I love free stuff, so I'm looking forward to all it.
What's your favorite kind of Chinese food, and how much of it are you planning on eating while you're in Beijing?
My favorite Chinese foot is definitely Chicken Lo Mein. It is pretty greasy, so I probably shouldn't be eating it, but I am definitely going to be indulging a few times.
Is there anything you're hoping to see/do in China?
The Great Wall and the Forbidden City I definitely want to check out. There is so much culture from so long ago that I want to see. I want to see this garden, I can't remember the name of it. I am really looking forward to running and representing the U.S. and also taking in the cultural aspect of it.
What's your proudest accomplishment in your sport thus far, besides making it to Beijing?
I would have to say it was back in high school when I won my first state title. I was actually a jumper in high school. It was the last jump in the state championship. I was in the mix, but this girl had a really big jump and I was in second. I remember on the runway, dialing and focusing and jumping the biggest jump of my career thus far to win the state championship, and that was my junior year of high school.
How is an Olympic athlete treated on campus?
I definitely have a lot of support. Not so much from the students, because I haven't been able to interact with them. They are in summer school and I am on the track and back home. The trainers and coaches are really supportive of me.
Better uniform: your school's or Team USA?
Oh definitely Team USA.
What are three movies, TV shows or bands you can't live without?
Number one is Ingrid Michaelson, she is really good. Nas is second and then Beyoncé.
I really like reality shows, but my favorite show just started, Secret Life of an American Teenager on ABC Family. It just came out and I watch it all time. I really like Family Guy. And Law, and Order, I watch that a lot.
As for movies, The Lion King, The Color Purple and Coming to America.
Who is your favorite professional athlete?
I definitely looked up to Michael Jordan and Flo-Jo when I was growing up. Mostly because I started out with basketball and then switched over to track. Just looking at old film of Florence Joyner and seeing her beauty. She shows that female athletes don't have to fit a certain mold. And you don't necessarily have to be big and manly. I really like her because I feel the same way as her.
Who is your celebrity crush?
I like a lot of them. In middle school it was Lil' Bow Wow, but now I really like Chris Brown. And he is from Virginia.
Do you have any hobbies besides your sport?
I love to dance. I used to do ballet when I was younger. I like shopping.
If you win a medal, what will you do with it?
I think I will wear it around my neck for about a year. I don't even know. Honestly, I would probably wear it for a year and sleep with it and put it in a display case in Richmond, of course after letting Virginia Tech put it up. I would wear it for a long time. I wouldn't care if my neck got tired.