Doc Patton: USATF Spotlight, by Katie Landry/USATF, note by Larry Eder

Doc Patton is one of our favorite athletes. Nice piece by USATF's Katie Landry! Don't miss watching the Penn Relays! 

Patton_Darvis_ReebokGP09_1.Jpg Doc Patton, 2009 Reebok Grand Prix, photo by

Elite Athlete Spotlight - Doc Patton

Olympic and World Championships medalist Darvis "Doc" Patton went to bed one night, and when he woke up the next day, he was old. Doc didn't look any different, didn't feel any different, and he certainly didn't slow down, but he suddenly became known to the press as a veteran athlete, experienced, the elder statesman, or a dozen other euphemisms for old.

"I was thinking, 'When did I become the old person?' But I love it. You can say old or experienced, but I don't feel it, and if you were looking at my times you wouldn't know that I'm 33," Patton said. "As long as I am having a good time and competing at a high level and having fun, I'm going to keep going."

Darvis Patton

In May of last year, Doc was running at a meet in Jamaica when he felt a nagging sports hernia flair up that derailed the rest of his season. Some may have gotten the false impression that his days on the track were done, but Doc said, "Retiring never came in my mind. That wasn't how I wanted to go out. I had more motivation to come back than to quit."

After going through surgery to correct the issue that had been troubling him since 2006, and building back through rehab, Doc is back and feeling stronger, faster and fresher than before his injury. While not much has changed on the track since his last full season, there has been a world of change in Doc's life off the track. Doc and his wife Crystal, had a baby girl, Dakota, in June of 2009, and now Doc is facing his first full season as a father.

"It's going to be tough when I have to leave. No matter how manly you are, having two women crying when you leave will break you down," Patton admits. "But Dakota's to the point that she'll point at me when she sees me on TV, and she'll get to watch the meets from home."

But once Doc steps on the track, or has he commonly refers to it as "the office," he is all business and his thoughts are singularly focused on the task at hand. "The track is where I do my work. I get excited because it is me versus seven other people, and it is my hard work versus theirs," Doc said.

On Saturday, when Doc steps on the track of Franklin Field for USA vs. the World, he may not be thinking of where he came from in the past year, how many years he has been competing or how his life has changed since his last full season, but knowing what he's come back from gives his fans and his support team that much more to cheer for.

"Penn is always gonna be special to me," Doc admits."The whole atmosphere and energy make it fun to compete. If that doesn't get you excited, nothing will."

About USA Track & Field

USA Track & Field (USATF) is the National Governing Body for track & field, long-distance running and race walking in the United States. USATF encompasses the world's oldest organized sports, the World's #1 Track & Field Team, the most-watched events at the Olympics, the #1 high school and junior high school participatory sport, and more than 30 million adult runners in the United States:

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