Never let them know what you are thinking! That is one of the classic Godfather lines, many like to quote. Welp, I am about to tell you exactly what I think. One week ago, after ten long, hard years of consistency Ryan finally made the US team! Not only did he make the team, he won the damn race! Ryan Wilson is the 2013 USA champion in the 110HH.
It is an understatement to say he won the hardest race, on the world's greatest team. Yearly, the highs are the deepest event in the US. In 2012, Ryan ran 13.26 to take 7th at the Olympic trials! 7th!!! In 99% of the world that is a national record. So the absolute joy, I felt when he crossed the line I hope was understandable to those who witnessed my exuberance. Yup, I yelled, and ran around like a fool, and I did not care. I shed a tear too. I admit it. Everyone that knows me, knew exactly how much that meant to me.
What I did not expect was how many people outside of my circle knew.
Ryan is well liked on the circuit, and after he won that race I got to see how much people liked him. There was genuine happiness from all corners as we walked off the track. Not that I expected any hate, I was just pleasantly surprised at how many knew his story. HIS story, his ten year climb.
Ten years. In that time, we have remained a fixture on the US scene. Always faltering in championship years. Ryan was my first recruit. He called me from the track when he won NCAAs in 03. I was shocked. I was pleased. I had to act like I wasn't smiling ear to ear. 2 days later he would commit to what is now a ten year journey. Here is a brief outline of our adventures trying to make the USA team: 2003 - strains groin in the first round. 2004 - He spent that entire season finishing school, went to trials half prepared but a USC graduate. Which was our goal that season. 2005 - hamstring strain that just would not go away. 2006 - No team, runs 13.22 to finish 3rd at nationals. Oh man were we ready for the show! 2007 - "Sweats off!" Both groins cramp! He bails at hurdle 2. He ran 13.02 in NY that year. Had a good summer, finished the season ranked in the top 10 in the world, and no team. 2008 - Injury. What would turn out to be a sports hernia. 2009 - David Payne jumps, Ryan gets blamed, runs under protest, so we can file a protest. We won the protest but because he ran, his result had to be taken into consideration which means he was better off not running. Another team goes by. 2010 - great year! Finished 4th in the world. Took second at nationals. Only problem, no team to make. but again, we are ready for 2011! 2011 - comes and everything is pear shaped. All. Year. Long! Following a disastrous nationals we made the switch to seven steps. Took him one whole set, on the road to switch. But it gave us a chance to work on it under fire with no pressure. 2012 - the Olympics. We are seven stepping easily, and ready to make the team. At hurdle 5 he is in 2nd, clip 6, smash 7, stumble, cuss across the finish line and in the end, get ranked 8th in the world, with no team again! 2013 - Deal done. Win it, leave no doubt. Finally make a team, on to Moscow.
Now of course I skipped a million tales, but you get the point. We had a point to prove. Losing to hurdlers he had beaten, watching races he could win. Wondering what in the hell was I screwing up? Brought me to the exhibition in the stands :) I celebrated for 3 days, internally. Now it is time to get ready for Moscow. The hard part was making the team, now it is time for the fun part, getting on that podium. See you guys in Moscow!!!