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March 1, 2002

What are your goals for the NCAA Indoor Championships?

I want to win NCAA Indoors. I lost last year and it will be a challenge to go back and win. I don’t necessarily have a time standard for myself, I just want to do whatever it takes to win. My goal is to just go out and win.

What was it like in China? What were some of the things you experienced off the track?

The Chinese people were all very friendly. They were all happy to see us and they made us feel very welcom. It was amazing, the people were appreciated us for being in their country.

What is the craziest, most off the wall question that you have been asked about Africa?

(laughing uncontrollably)…I think the worst question someone has ever asked me was ‘Do they wear clothes in Africa?’ I didn’t answer that question, I just asked him to use common sense. I was not naked when I arrived in the United States. That’s why it is so easy to dress myself here in the U.S. – I had plenty of practice dressing myself in Africa. Another question I have been asked is ‘Did you live in the jungle with animals back in Africa?’ Unfortunately people get all of these stereotypes from watching television and movies and they don’t know what Africa is really like. It is a lot like America – there are suburban areas, some urban ares, there is wilderness, but the entire place is not one big jungle where we run around naked all day.

Is there a big difference between Africa and the United States and if so, what is that difference?

There is a difference between the two. The main difference is technology. The United States is much more technologically advanced. Culturally, there are some basic day-to-day things that are different. There are not major differences but it is noticable.

Was there a culture shock upon arriving in the United States?

At first, I couldn’t understand anyone here [in the United States]. In Africa, people speak British English opposed to American English. The difference is that some words have different meanings and there are some words used in American English that aren’t used in British English. In Africa, most people are careful with grammar, whereas grammar is not emphasized in America, especially in regular conversation.

What did you learn about the competition that you will face at the NCAA Indoor Championshps while you competed at the SEC Indoor Championships?

The SEC is about the same competition level as the national competition on any event. I can predict what nationals will be like on any event because it will be similar to the SEC Championships. It is almost the same with a few more competitors thrown into the mix. Most of the top performers at nationals will undoubtedly be from the SEC because the SEC is such a tough conference.

At the World Championships you didn’t run the 800m as well as you would have liked to, but then came back with your team to set a national record in the 4x400m relay. What was going through your mind throughout all this?

I take track competition as a game with winners and losers. I can’t be that disappointed because it is a game. There are going to be losers in any game. When I didn’t run the 800m that well, I wasn’t too disappointed because I knew the 4×400 was coming up. If I had gotten disappointed by that 800m run, I probably wouldn’t have done well in the 4×4. It is all part of the whole game. You are going to have good days and bad days. By looking at it this way, it is easier to cope with my ‘failures’and I just look to build up from those failures. It is all part of the game. You just have to be tough enough to put it aside. I did that and because of that I was able to run well in the 4×4. That was before the University Games. I hoped to run better there and I worked hard and did it. I ran 1:45 at the University Games, much better than my 1:49 mark at the World Championships.I let nervousness take control at the World Championships. If I hadn’t done that, it would have been better. I calmed down for the 4×4 and ran well. You just have to think of every race as just a regular day, no matter what level you are at.

What advice would you give to someone that would like to run track in college?

I can say this from my experience at the World Championships: Don’t look at losing as a disappointment. Accept it and work hard to the next race. It is part of the game, to win or lose. There will always be one or two winners and the rest will just be losers in that race. It is a part of the game. You just have to go out and try your best everytime.