Another gear: Ole Miss sprinter Young makes Olympic team

By Parrish Alford/NEMS Daily Journal


OXFORD – The first call went to Betty Young regardless of her track and field knowledge.
Mother had to know first.
Isiah Young, a junior Ole Miss sprinter, had just qualified for the Olympics, and while his phone exploded with positive vibes from friends and other family, they all were put on hold in a manner of speaking.
“My mother, she really don’t know track, she just knows I do good in it. That was the first call. After that I just left my phone alone,” Young said.
Young grabbed the last qualifying spot in the men’s 200 meters at the US Olympic track and field trials in Eugene, Ore., last Sunday, running a personal best 20.16 and breaking his own Ole Miss record to earn a spot on Team USA for the London Olympics.
He will leave later this month and may compete in a meet in London prior to the games. Right now his training is scaled back even if his excitement level isn’t.
Young set an Ole Miss record with a 20.32 clocking and a first-place finish in the 200 meters at the SEC championships earlier this year.
Although his fourth-place finish at the NCAA meet was less than he hoped for, he had a good feeling about the trials.
“I thought I would make the team this year. I really believed that, either in the 100, the relay team or the open, but my chances got better in the 200 when some big names pulled out. That kind of open up a spot for somebody young to come up and take a shot at it, and I was one of those guys,” he said.
The 200 final was without Walter Dix, whose time of 19.7 was the best going into the trials. Also missing was Justin Gatlin, who elected not to run the 200 after winning the 100.
Confident already, Young was really thinking London after the turn of events.
“It gave me some confidence that I could make the team in that event, but I think it would have helped me run even faster if those kind of names were in the heat too … like fast people pulling you through the line. It was both positives, them being in or them being out.”
Young finished behind professionals Wallace Spearmon (19.82) and Maurice Mitchell (20.14).
Making the team created a few inconveniences like missing an early Monday flight for an afternoon one so he could hang around for a meeting on process and procedure for Team USA members heading to London. The meeting also included instructions on how to hold the U.S., flag, Young said.
Sunday afternoon’s good news also created a little more work for Young Sunday evening, but he was happy to oblige.
“The messages and calls kept coming in. I had like 80 text messages and like 40-something Twitter mentions,” Young said, smiling. “When I finally got to the hotel I took the time to respond back to everybody.”
parrish.alford@journalinc.com