MANSFIELD (KRLD-AM) — The U.S. Olympic Trials in track and field are going on in Eugene, Oregon — and one local competitor has punched her ticket to Rio.
“It’s hard, still, to understand that I’m going to the Olympics,” says an elated Shelbi Vaughan, 21.
The discus thrower finished second in the Olympic Trials with a distance of 197’9″.
Four years ago, as a 17-year-old, Vaughan finished fourth. The top three finishers gain Olympic berths.
Vaughan says she was originally a sprinter; but when she was in seventh grade, one of her coaches urged her to give discus a try.
“One of the coaches told me that I need to try to come throw because she had seen me play other sports,” says Vaughan.
It turned out to be very good advice.
“I ended up breaking the school record (for discus) in junior high,” Vaughan says. “Then I went to high school; and when I was a freshman, I broke the school record at my high school as well.”
Vaughan realizes that the competition in Rio will be especially tough, especially Sandra Perkovic of Croatia.
“She’s been pretty unstoppable for two years,” Vaughan says. “She’s been beat a couple times in between then, so I’m hoping possibly I’ll get to throw out there and give her some competition.”
One event that Vaughan plans to skip are the opening ceremonies on August 5.
“It’s just not something that I think is a good idea for me to do — stand for five hours going into competition,” Vaughan explains. “I’d rather my legs be fresh and my back be fresh for competition.”
The women’s discus competition takes place August 15-16.
As for the Zika scare that’s plaguing Brazil, Vaughan says she’s not worried.
“I think they (USA Track and Field) are really going to take great care of us,” Vaughan says. “I don’t think there’s much to worry about. I mean, yeah it’s there, but I think we’re all going to be okay.”
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