places 20th at Olympic trials
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[JULY 16, 2004]
-- Only a small list of athletes can ever say they competed for a
chance to go to the Olympics. Former Illinois State thrower Latisha
Johnson can now be added to that list.
Although Johnson placed 20th at
Thursday's U.S. Olympic Team Trials with a throw of 46-2 in the shot
put, the Jacksonville, Ill., native received valuable experience
that most athletes can only dream about.
"Latisha got to compete on a world
stage," Illinois State assistant coach for throws Brent Chumbley
said. "The top 1 percent in the world throws here. That just shows
the caliber of athlete she is at this point in her career."
For Johnson, being a part of the trials
was an experience of a lifetime.
"I got to throw against some great
people, and I saw Marion Jones and Jackie Joyner-Kersee," Johnson
said. "I wasn't nervous. I went out and did my best, but I guess it
just wasn't there."
Johnson ended a remarkable college
career in June after competing at the NCAA nationals. During her
senior year at Illinois State, Johnson broke the school and Missouri
Valley Conference shot put record during both the indoor and outdoor
seasons. She also took home conference titles in the indoor and
outdoor shot put.
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Her best throw on the season came at
the NCAA Mideast Regional, where she placed fifth with a distance of
Johnson will begin student teaching in
the fall, and even though her college career has come to an end, she
feels her days as a track and field athlete may not be over just
"I can't say that my career is done,"
Johnson said. "I definitely need to rest a little, but I think I
still have some years left in me."
to access live results of the 2004 U.S. Olympic Team Trials can do
so by going to the USA Track and Field website at
www.usatf.org and clicking on the
link to the right on the page.
State University news release]