Olympic spotlight: The ‘flying flower’

Going for the Gold 2016

In mid-July, the world will know the track and field team representing America.

The U.S. Olympic team trials are July 1 through July 10 in Eugene, Oregon.

One runner honed in on wearing the red, white and blue is Alysia Montano. She’s known as the “flying flower.” The name comes from when Montano runs: She runs with a flower in her hair. She’s been doing it since grade school.

“I grew up in a family of boys, straight boys. And it was a time when we had very little female role models as athletes to look up to. My brothers and my cousins always made me feel empowered, they never ever made me feel like I was a little girl,” Montano recalled.

As a girl, Montano played football, basketball and hockey, but as a woman, her focus shifted to running.

The flower is no gimmick. She’s a six-time U.S.A. track and field outdoor champion.

She’s in such great shape, in 2014, she ran the 800 meters at nationals while eight months pregnant.

“Most of the feedback that I got when I ran 34 weeks pregnant was positive feedback, but there definitely was some slight little negative comments. Of course, all the Twitter messages and the thank you’s were awesome,” Montano said.

Montano came in last place in a field of 29 after receiving permission from her doctor.

One year later, she ran the 800 again and qualified for worlds. In July, she’ll try to qualify for the Olympics.

“I think that it would be more than deserved and necessary for me to have the opportunity once again. And I just hope that I will have the opportunity,” Montano said.

In the London 2012 Olympics, Montano placed fifth in the 800 and did not medal.

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