June 16, 2004
USC will have a number of current athletes and incoming freshman compete at the USA Junior Championships next weekend. Incoming USC freshman Jason Richardson (Cedar Hill, Texas) is preparing for the 110m hurdles and 400m hurdles at USA Junior Championships at Texas A&M next weekend and sat down to talk to uscsports.com today. He was recently named by Sports Illustrated as : ONE OF 14 FRESHMAN WHO WILL MAKE A HUGE IMPACT.
Q – What do you to go by – do you have any nicknames?
A – I guess my favorite is J Rich. That’s what all my close friends call me.
Q – In the recruiting process, you had Tennessee, Southern Cal, Florida, Stanford ? all the big schools on your list ? why did you choose South Carolina?
JR – South Carolina provided the right balance between academics and athletics. I will be coached by arguably one of the top hurdles coaches in the world ? Coach Frye. It is a comfortable training environment and I like the people who train here, go to school here. It has the right training environment for me. It might not have all the flash of some other schools ? we just do track and we get it done here. The academics are important as well. A South Carolina education is a good one, especially in the School of Business with International Business being one of the top areas of study in the country. Sport and Entertainment Management has 3/4 business classes ? I think ? and the USC School of Business is very strong.
Q – What is your career goal?
A – To be an attorney associated with sports. Not an agent, but to be involved with contract law or intellectual properties. I don’t want to be involved in criminal law because I have a conscience. And corporate law is too impersonal.
Q – At the USA Juniors – if you finish in the top two ? you will represent the USA at the World Junior Championships in Italy in July. What is your goal next week at the US Junior Championship?
A – Making the USA World Junior team! This is a crazy year where we have some amazingly fast people in the hurdles. It’s going to be very difficult if everyone who has declared actually runs. One, I will get out and make the team if God willing. Placing at World Juniors ? we are just as competitive internationally as we are in the US. Meaning the US has a great team ? whomever finishes 1-2 in the US Junior Championships could go 1-2 at the World Juniors. The 110m hurdles are stacked. Aires Merritt of Tennessee just ran a 13.4 at NCAA meet. I’ve run a 13.7, but we ran both under different conditions. I am hoping when I get with him, someone who is faster and in an even more prestigious meet, I will run faster.
Q – What’s the biggest surprise for you this year?
A – Winning state in the 300m hurdles. The time itself threw me off. I think second place was 37.3. I knew I had to run the 4x400m relay later so I didn’t want to use everything in that race. So I went through the motions and was really lose. I ran a 36.05 ? a PR by .70 seconds! The time itself wasn’t that fast but because of the ratio of effort I put in I didn’t feel like I tried at all. I learned that running relaxed is the best way to run.
Q – Who is your hero in track and field?
A – I don’t have one. You can’t really form any emotional attachments when you really don’t know someone. My hero’s are probably my parents. There are people that you would like to run like, or run with the same ability someday. But if I needed to pick a few I would say Allen Johnson (USC volunteer coach and 1996 Olympic gold medalist) — for his short hurdle ability ? he is the greatest short hurdler in history. Kevin Young for his sheer 400m hurdles speed, Renaldo Nehemiah for his 110m hurdle dominance and Ed Moses for his 400m hurdle dominance.
Q – Is a goal of making the 2008 Beijing US Olympic team realistic? Can you make the team?
A – Yes that is my goal. I think it’s realistic. Coming from an academically based household I wasn’t told I was the greatest. I had to show by running consistent times I was going to be able to run track after college. You take Terrence Trammell’s career prior to his winning the silver medal at the Olympic Games his junior year ? you take his high school PR’s, his college PR’s, the structure he had ? I kind of use him as the good example of the good transition you can have from high school to college. He ran a 13.8 in high school, I’ve run a 13.7 in high school. Greg Foster ran 13.2 in college and I broke his record earlier this year. I share the record with Renaldo Nehemiah who has the college record at 13.0. So if these are any indictors of the success I could have success in Beijing in 2008. But I know I have to work hard and put in the effort. It just won’t happen. I look forward to it!
Q – Are you excited to come to college?
A – I am very excited. You senior year of high school is always a year you wish would end as soon as possible. The entire year I knew I was going to do something big after that. I knew I was coming to South Carolina to go to college and compete. I was ready for it to end because I was ready to turn a page and get onto higher education. I wish I had done more in high school and been more social. I wish I had contributed more off the track, in the classroom. I know that college is going to be much tougher than high school and I am fully prepared for that.
I am ready to be a Gamecock. I am a proud Gamecock already! I know how to ruffle my feathers, even though I am yet to figure out exactly what a Gamecock looks like!
Thanks for spending time with me today. I look forward to running for the Garnet and Black.