A look back: Fountain at Worlds

Picture credit to the @USATF

BIRMINGHAM, U.K. – On Friday, March 2, inside the Birmingham Arena, Olympian and Virginia Tech track and field’s volunteer assistant coach Hyleas Fountain was recognized with a bronze medal for her efforts at the 2010 USATF World Championships in Doha, Qatar.

Fountain, who joined the Hokies’ staff last summer, earned fourth place with 4,753 points in the pentathlon, but due to the third-place winner testing positive for performance enhancers recently, Fountain moved a spot up to earn bronze.

The University of Georgia alum became the only American woman other than Jackie Joyner-Kersee to win an Olympic medal in the heptathlon in 2008. She interviewed with HokieSports reflecting on her time in England this past weekend. For more, read below.

Q: What was your travel experience like heading to Europe?

FOUNTAIN: “I flew out Thursday and got there Friday around 11 a.m. their time, so it was a long travel day. I believe I was in the air longer than I was actually on the ground (laughing). When I was doing the calculation of how much travel time I did, I think the whole travel time was 12 hours and it was longer going back.

“When I got there I just went to my hotel and picked up my podium suit. They assumed we didn’t have the same podium suits we had back in the day, because some even got medals from 2006. That stuff is probably long gone or it’s ruined (laughing).”

Q: Did you get a chance to meet anybody that is well known in the track community?

FOUNTAIN: “Right before the ceremony, I ended up meeting the guy who was going to present the medal to me. I actually knew who he was. He was the old head track coach at Rice [Victor Lopez] and has moved back to Puerto Rico to be the head of its federation now. So, that was pretty cool.

Q: During your time in England, was their any surprises along the way?

FOUNTAIN: “The biggest surprise, I was like super excited to be there, but the medal I was getting was disappointing because it was not the replica of the medal that I should have received at the championships. That was really upsetting because, when you think about it, we have already lost so much in terms of endorsement money for placing and what not, so to not even get the replica of the medal was pretty disheartening for me. The medal that we got just didn’t symbolize anything of the championships in 2010, it was very generic. And the thing is, all of the guys and girls who also earned medals said the same thing.”

Q: What was England like and how did the event go with you being recognized?

FOUNTAIN: “It was really nice being in England, I really loved being there. I love the food, it was great, the people were awesome. I got recognized on Friday and it happened before any event went off. So, there was still a lot of people in the stands and stuff like that. I thought it was a very nice ceremony and they did a good job for us. They had fireworks and all of that good stuff. It was really nice how they did it.”

Q: Take me back to 2010 when you prepared and turned in a great score?

FOUNTAIN: “Basically, 2010 was a really big year for me. I competed really well. I was really looking forward to the championships because I had scored pretty high that year at the USA Championships. I was looking forward to being there and scoring really high. When I was there, I actually tied the American record and had several personal records. I didn’t PR in the hurdles, even though I was running pretty fast coming into it, because we couldn’t hear the gun go off on the speaker. On each block there was a speaker of the gun and it was delayed start for me speaker. Unfortunately, it happened in many heats. I still ran okay, but I felt like I could have done better. Overall, it was a pretty good and had quite a few personal bests.”

Q: Would you say at that time of your life in 2010, that you were in your prime?

FOUNTAIN: “I would say I was in my prime then. Before, I was doing really well in 2009 so that gave me a lot of confidence going into 2010. I ended the outdoor season very well. I had a personal best in the multi in Des Moines, Iowa, that summer in the heptathlon. That was a really good year for me with hitting my PRs in the pentathlon and the heptathlon. So, overall that was a really good year for me, even more so than 2008.”

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