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Aug. 12, 2004

USC alum Aleen Bailey is getting ready to compete at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games. She arrived in the Athens Olympic Village yesterday. Just hanging out in her apartment, she sat down with USCSPORTS.COM to talk about her training, her roommate at the Games and the outfit she will wear tomorrow night at the Opening Ceremonies.

USC: First, everyone is talking about Bonnie and Charley here on the East Coast – the hurricanes/tropical storms. Did Hurricane Charley have any effect on Jamaica that you know of?

AB: I have been trying to call my mom and dad – their cell phones aren’t working but our team manager called home and they said everything was fine. It passed us but we got rain and wind. Not nice.

USC: Are you going to the opening ceremonies tomorrow night?

AB: I am going to the first part to walk into the stadium and then I will sneak away afterwards because I heard it would be too long. I heard you won’t leave until 3 am and that’s not good.

USC: What are you wearing with your home country of Jamaica?

AB: We are wearing black Capri pants, with a yellow button front shirt with the word Jamaica on the back with the national bird – the hummingbird. I think the uniform is nice. Then we have shoes that are green, yellow and black – our national colors – and they all go well. We have hats – they look like the Kanga hats – they are green. The outfit is really cute. The outfit looks really nice on. The suit we thought we would wear – we would die from the heat. So this outfit is cool looking and we won’t be so hot.

USC: You finished competing at USC with a bang last year – winning the NCAA title in the 100m and 200m. When do you graduate?

AB: I will graduate in December this year with a degree in Sociology. It was exciting winning the 100m and the 200m.

USC: What events will you run in Athens?

AB: I will run the 100m, 200m and the 4x100m relay. At the Jamaican Trials I was second in the 200m and third in the 100m. I start on the morning the 20th – I will run the 100m first. Right now I am concentrating on the 100m – I am not even sure when the 200m starts.

USC: You competed in the 2003 World Championship in Paris. How did you finish?

AB: I got sixth in the finals of the 100m. I got hurt in the semi-finals of the 200m and did not finish. It was a good finish for me in the 100m. I could probably have finished better if I had started better. My start isn’t the best and normally I have to run from the back to win. You can’t do this at this level. You have to run a complete race. It was my first time making the finals at a World Championships so that is good.

USC: Coach Frye told USCSPORTS.COM today that he thinks you can win a medal in the 100m. What do you think about his prediction?

AB: I can win a medal because my starts are way better than they were even last year. I saw how I ran at the Worlds in 2003 so if I get everything right now I should be able to get a medal and maybe even win. I can. I am not nervous right now because I have been training hard. I have to remember to react with the gun and do everything I have been working on.

USC: What is a highlight thus far this year?

AB: Making the team is the highlight this year. Right now I am trying to medal.

USC: What goals have you set for yourself in Athens? Do you have any time in mind that you would like to run?

AB: My goal is be the first Jamaican female sprinter to win a gold medal. I PR’ed earlier this year at 11.04 and I think 10.9 would be ideal.

USC: Who will be the woman to beat in Athens in the 100m?

AB: Right now it looks like my teammate Veronica Campbell. She is a tough contender. Now we are training together in Athens. She is very talented and it’s good to train with her. We had training camp in Germany last week and now we are here in Athens.

USC: So, you are in the village now. How do you like it?

AB: It’s nice. The food is for 24 hours. They have just about everything you could want. They have an international zone where you can get your hair, nails done. The security is really good. The rooms are also very nice. It’s kind of like South Quad but with different-size rooms. It’s like an apt. with three bedrooms and you share a bedroom. My roommate is Shevon Stoddart – she is a junior at USC and running the 400m hurdles. It’s nice to room with someone you know, you have something in common so we can hang out and talk. My other roommates in my house are Sherone Simpson, Karron Stork and the other two are physical therapists.

I saw Adrian Durant in the village. It was funny to run into him at the village.

USC: What have you done since you have been in Athens?

AB: Today we practiced at the village track. We practiced our starts and also worked on relay passes. We got to the village last night so today was our first practice since I have been to Athens. We are here to win medals – so we need our rest and to relax.

USC: Have you seen anyone famous yet?

AB: No, not yet. But I have been looking! Most villages are run-down and the service is not good, but not here. People are really nice and if you need anything done they will help you. They have signs up all over – 2004 Athens Olympics – Welcome Home. That’s nice. We needed to go to Nike today and so they arranged for a van to take us. We have air conditioning and that is just wonderful!

USC: Does the heat there compare to Columbia?

AB: The middle of the day here it’s very hot – like burning hot. Like Columbia but then it starts to cool down at 5 pm. I don’t’ think it will effect me – I have from the Caribbean so I love the heat.

Hey, thanks for calling me! Keep having faith in the Gamecocks! We are going to represent and make them proud – pray for us!