By Errol “DynamiX” Alegre, Jr.
Amy Atkinson found love for the sport of track ever since her parents took her to run her first 5K at the age of five. Since then, she has continually trained to become better at the sport that she knew would take her to great places and competitive events.
But she probably didn’t know that all of her hard work would take her to one of the most monumental sporting events in the world – the Olympics. Atkinson is living one of her all-time dreams as she is set to represent Guam in the upcoming 2012 London Olympics in the 800 meter run. With all her hard-earned accomplishments that she has achieved throughout her life, Guam could not ask for a more outstanding representative.
Although Atkinson loved to compete in running, her number one goal for sports, overall, was to play for a college soccer team. Throughout her middle and high school years, she committed herself to both sports and proved that she was one of the top, young female athletes on the island; she competed in numerous qualifying soccer events after joining the girls, and eventually women’s national soccer team when she was just eighth grade. Up until her sophomore year in high school, Atkinson continued to train and compete in various events for both sports. It was then when the George Washington High School graduate decided to relieve herself of track and field in order to focus entirely on soccer and pursue her dreams of competing in college.
Atkinson stated, “It was a difficult decision. But I realized after my sophomore year that I would have to choose soccer over track if I really wanted to play soccer in college.”
And she did just that. After graduating valedictorian of her class and receiving the 2007 Shieh Female Scholar Athlete of the Year award, Atkinson received a scholarship to attend college at Biola University and to play for their varsity soccer team.
Before obtaining her degree in English and Liberal Studies in 2011, the Suma Cum Laude graduate made sure to leave a lasting impression on her school. Academically, she not only graduated Suma Cum Laude, but she also made it on to the Dean’s List and was accepted into the Biola University Undergraduate Honor Society. Athletically, she was team captain of her soccer team for all four years, and from 2009 to 2010, she was named Biola University Defensive MVP, the NAIA Womens College Soccer Athlete of the year, and was selected to the All College First Teams for ESPN and GSAC (Golden State Athletic Conference).
Atkinson took notice of the vast number of opportunities that the sport of running has to offer. After scratching off college soccer from her “Dreams to Pursue” list, she moved on to her career goals and obtained her teaching credential through Biola’s graduate studies program. And in the process of doing so, she focused on training and becoming better at running; she joined the Southern California Track Club, an extremely competitive track team, and hired U.S. Olympic trainer, Mark Cleary to help strengthen her skills.
Since receiving her teaching credential, the soon-to-be public school teacher has been representing Guam in international track events all around the world, such as the World Indoor Championships in Turkey, the recent Oceania Regional Championships in Australia, and now, the icing on the cake, the 2012 Olympics in London.
Amy Atkinson’s personal best record for the 800 meter is two minutes, 20 seconds. She is one second behind the best time on Guam which is two minutes, 19 seconds. She not only looks to represent Guam in London, but also hopes to set a new record for Guam. Although the Olympics has been a big goal for Atkinson, she always keeps in mind the reason why she continues to run, for the love of the sport.
“The Olympics is not the reason I run. I run because I love it and because God gave me the ability to run.”
With the wonderful support from her just-as-athletic family, Guam Running Club, Guam Track and Field Association, coach Cleary, fellow Olympian Derek Mandell, and her extended family from Bay View Church, Atkinson goes-in full force ready to represent Guam proudly as she has done many times before. But with the many people who have supported and contributed to her success, she gives the most credit and the biggest thank you to God.
“There have been times where I struggled with an injury or have been discouraged or had a bad race, and I realize that God has given me the ability to run, and the biggest thanks I can give to him is to run my fastest and work my hardest.”
“That’s what I hope to do out here, to say thank you to God, my family, and the island.”
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