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Friday, July 16

Johnson places 20th at Olympic trials     Send a link to a friend

[JULY 16, 2004]  SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- 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 53-1 3/4.

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 yet.

"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."

Fans wanting 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 trials link to the right on the page.

[Illinois State University news release]

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