March 8, 2007
Prior to the 2007 NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships, which are being held in Fayetteville, Ark., on March 9-10, Lady Vol All-America sprinter Courtney Champion took some time to share a little bit about what makes her tick.
What is your favorite spot on the UT campus?
I would have to say Stokely Athletics Center. It contains the track & field locker room, where I live while I'm on campus and not in class. It also has Gibbs Dining Hall, and I love to eat.
What is the best book you have ever read?
"The Coldest Winter Ever" by Sister Souljah. That book is raw and very realistic. It explains things without sugar-coating them, which makes for a very interesting read.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
LOL...I don't know what that is anymore. I love to play with my Chihuahua, Apple. Like any other girl, I love to shop. When time allows, I spend quality time with my boyfriend.
What has been your favorite athletic moment at Tennessee?
I think I have two. The first is winning Indoor NCAAs my freshman year. I loved how the team was so close at the time. My second was recently at the SEC meet, when I ran 7.15 to gain a PR, break the school record, and rank me third in the world. I've always hoped for an accomplishment like this but to actually accomplish it was even better.
If you could invite four people over for dinner, who would they be?
If I could invite any four people they would include my mother. She is the one person I admire and respect to the utmost. The second would be my high school coach, Coach Lewis, who has been the father figure in my life. The third would be Harriet Tubman. I would love to question a strong black woman, someone who overcame adversity and the struggles within her life. And the last would be Jesus Christ.
What quote inspires you the most?
I have two, which are the two scriptures I have a tattoo of. The first is the well-known Philippians 4:13 - "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." I feel this is something you should live by daily. If you carry this confidence then nothing can hinder you from achieving your goals. The second is James 4:10 - "Humble thyself in the site of the Lord, and he will lift you up." I try to live by this also. I believe all great accomplishments were given to you by the Lord, and that no one deserves to be cocky. What God gives, He also can take away. Being humble always reminds me where my blessings have come from.
What is your signature color?
I don't think I have one. Athletically, people probably associate me with Tennessee orange, but my favorite overall is pink.
Which reality show would you rather be on: American Idol or Survivor?
Survivor, hands down. I CANNOT SING!! I don't think many people would appreciate me being on American Idol, and I definitely would not want to be one of the many who get on the show to embarrass themselves. Plus, I feel if I can survive Coach Caryl's (UT assistant Caryl Smith Gilbert) off-season workouts, Survivor should be a piece of cake.
What is the best vacation you have ever been on?
The best vacation is when I went back to California to visit my best friend the first summer after I moved away to Atlanta. I never realized how close we were until I moved away and to go back to visit was the best. I had so much fun doing the everyday stuff that I never got to do anymore.
As a Lady Vol, what do you want to be most remembered for?
As someone who represented her school well. Not just through my performance on the track but also academically, within the community, and just among her classmates and fellow athletes.
Who is your favorite celebrity?
What is the one food item you cannot live without?
Chocolate milk. I am addicted.
What do you want to be when you grow up?
Successful. I want to have achieved many of my set goals. Not necessarily rich or famous, just happy, which I will be if I do accomplish the goals I have in my life.
Which season do you like the most?
Winter. I think it's the prettiest, especially with snow. It also has my favorite holiday, Christmas. It's not for the gifts but for the family time and nice, long school break.
What is your most memorable sports moment?
My junior year in high school, when I made the world team and got second in the 200m. I was so excited. I was representing the United States and competing against other countries around the world, but I also got to experience something most people, let alone kids, get to experience.
If you could go on a vacation right now, what country would you most like to visit?
The Fiji Islands. I think that place is gorgeous. I would love to learn and experience their culture. See how they live, eat what they eat, and do what they do to have fun.
What is your favorite kind of ice cream?
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough. You get the best of both worlds. Vanilla ice cream with chocolate chip chunks throughout but also chunks of unbaked cookie dough. Two bad treats rolled into one.
Who is your favorite track & field Olympian?
Before I came to UT I would have said Flo Jo. What female sprinter didn't want to be like her? Now, it's (former Lady Vol) Dee Dee Trotter. I have never met a person who is so hard working. She has a beautiful spirit and such a positive outlook on life. She takes her blessings and uses them to help others. She is also considerate of other people before herself. Plus, she is a nut. She is hilarious and will always have you laughing. I feel it's an honor we get to train and interact with her on almost a daily basis.
Which holiday do you enjoy the most?
Christmas. I love how it brings people and family together, and I am big on family. They are some of the most important people in your life. I also love that it's during my favorite season, winter. The gifts aren't a bad touch either.
What do you do to relieve stress?
Listen to music or vent to a close friend. There is a song out there that represents, or can express, how you're feeling at the moment. And when that doesn't work, talking to someone you know you can trust and getting it off your chest is great.
What movie were you itching to buy the minute it was released?
The Friday After Next. I love that movie. I've seen it a million times, and it's still funny. I can quote it forward and backward in my sleep.
What are some routines you use to prepare for a meet?
Nothing big. Day before, I make sure I eat good meals and relax. Too much stress and pressure is not good. The day of, I try to occupy my time and focus with non-related track activities. When it gets closer to competition time, I tend to listen to inspirational music. I try to have fun and enjoy the moments.
What goes through your mind when you are running?
Sometimes nothing, and that's not good. I am supposed to focus on executing my race plan, but sometimes it doesn't go down like that. Sometimes my mind just goes blank, and my race reflects it. After that, the only thing on my mind is facing coach.
Why do you love track & field so much?
Because it has taught me so much. It has taught me how to compete for something I want and what it feels like to be successful after you achieved the task. I've also learned that dedication and hard work pay off in the end. I feel track can be a representation of life. It's an individual sport where you must work hard and earn everything. I have learned so much through my track experiences that I can take and use in my daily life as I continue to mature and grow as a person.
When you have time to watch TV, what shows do you watch?
I am a cartoon lover. Jimmy Neutron, Fairly Oddparents and Spongebob Squarepants. I also love Family Guy and the Boondocks. When I am not watching cartoons, I love the dumb reality shows like Flava Flav and I Love New York. Lately, I've found myself watching the Discovery Channel.
If you were not competing in track & field, what sport would you pursue?
I don't think I would pursue another sport except for my ended dance career. I used to dance back in high school, something that I had to quit when I came to UT.
What is your biggest pet peeve?
I HATE SMACKING!! Smacking on gum, smacking on food, smacking on anything, it drives me up the wall and will cause me to snap.
Complete the sentence: You'd be surprised to know that I...
...almost died at the early age of seven when I got a nail stuck in the top of my head from running underneath the bleachers.