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Olympian Marvin Bracy

Former Boone, FSU star Marvin Bracy calls Olympic bid best feeling ever
7/5/2016 11:08:00 AM

Chris Hays Orlando Sentinel

Marvin Bracy has waited a long time for this moment.

"Ever since I started running track, the goal was always Olympics, Olympics, Olympics," said Bracy, an Orlando Boone High graduate.

But even after the 100-meter dash final at the U.S. Olympic Trials on Sunday night in Eugene, Ore., Bracy had to wait a little bit longer to find out if he had officially earned a spot in next month's Rio Olympic Games.

It wasn't a photo finish, but it was too close to call at the wire.

"When the announcer said what was going on, I prayed that I got that spot," Bracy said. "And when that thing flashed, man … that was awesome. It was like the best feeling ever."

Bracy secured the final U.S. Olympic spot with a time of 9.98 seconds, two-hundredths ahead of Michael Rodgers at 10 flat.

Bracy wasn't the only one checking the competitors, praying and hoping.

 

"The longest 30 seconds of my life," said Erin Schaming, Bracy's girlfriend who watched the race on TV with her father, as she always does, back home in Orlando.

"I couldn't really tell if he made third place or not, so my heart kind of sank for a second and I was just kind of holding my breath waiting for them to show the final results," said Schaming, a UCF student who attended West Orange High. "I had faith the whole time, but when you are stuck in a moment like that, you kinda don't know.

"They were talking about Gatlin a lot [on TV] and they were showing his reaction to him winning and when they showed Gatlin celebrating, I could see Marvin in the background point to the sky, and that's something he always does when he's made it, so that kind of helped."

Bracy can now say he's an Olympian, but he said it's all still very surreal.

"You have no idea. I don't even know how to describe it," Bracy said in a phone interview a few hours after the race. "Ever since I started track, the goal was always Olympics, Olympics, Olympics … but to actually make it happen, that's just something special.

"It hasn't really sunk in yet. It's all so surreal to me right now."

Growing up in Orlando, Bracy always fancied himself as a football player who just happened to be fast.

When you are as fast as Bracy, however, this is just what you do.

He was a two-sport star in football and track at Boone High, where he was named Under Armour All-American in football and won five individual state titles in track –three in the 100 meters and two in the 200 meters.

Bracy signed to play both sports at FSU, but after two years in Tallahassee, he decided to focus entirely on professional track, signing a contract with Adidas in 2013.

Sunday night in Eugene was a culmination of all that he has worked toward, all he has endured – the training, the naysayers, the naivety of all those who don't understand what it takes to become an Olympian.

The question that irritates him most is the one that follows his answer to what he does for a living.

"When I tell people I run track, the first thing they always say is, 'Are you in the Olympics?' … I hate that question, because you're not really in the Olympics, you're working toward getting there," Bracy said. "But I just break it down for them, tell them what the process is like. ... It gets a little annoying explaining to people all of the time, but you just kind of educate people on the sport because a lot of people don't know what pro track means.

"They think that we are only seen during the Olympics and that's obviously not what it is."

But now when people ask, his answer will be much simpler.

chays@orlandosentinel.com

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