"Brenda Unplugged": Brenda Martinez Tells it Like it is

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Martinez_Brenda-NBind16.jpgBrenda Martinez, photo by PhotoRun.net

Brenda Martinez tells it all, and this is the piece that Dave Hunter was so happy with today!

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March 16th, 2016

Portland, Oregon

Anyone who has ever witnessed America middle distance star Brenda Martinez race knows she is a spirited competitor who leaves it all on the track. From her gutty 2013 charge down the Moscow homestretch battlefield to win the first world championship 800 meter medal ever by an American woman to her recent explosive, well-timed kick in winning the Boston Indoor Grand Prix 1500 meter race, Martinez is a passion competitor who consistently races with gusto.

Brenda Martinez brings a similar hold-nothing-back approach in addressing inquiries from the media. Here is the candid way she responded in the Team USA pre-meet press conference on the eve of the 16th IAAF World Indoor Track & Field Championships:

On the benefits and the challenges as an 800 meter veteran moving up to race in the 1500 meters in the world championships. "I definitely wanted to go over distance this season, just because I hadn't done a lot of strength work. The intensity of the strength workouts that I have been doing this past fall - it was just a great build-up. I had no interruptions. So we just decided to go for it in the 15 and see what we can do. But come outdoors, I will go back down to the 8. I'm not like 'snappy' right now. But I am definitely strong. So I am super confident right now."

On possibly introducing new race strategies as she competes at the longer 1500 meter distance: "I definitely need to start leading these races from the front and just kind of maintaining. That race [her Boston victory at 1500 meters] was a good confidence-builder for me. I talked with my coach about it too. There were plenty of mistakes that were made in that race that probably cost me time. I knew I was in 4:02, 4:03 shape and I ran 4:04. This weekend there are four Ethiopian-born girls who will give me a run for my money. But I am definitely confident. I think I can perform better if I don't have any mistakes this weekend."

On whether or not it is good - given the recent revelations of the pervasive use of performance-enhancing drugs by Russian athletes - not to have the Russians competing in these championships: "It definitely is. Now they are suffering the consequences. I don't know what the future is going to hold for them. Hopefully it can be the example: 'You don't cheat.' So many of us have been wronged [and robbed] of experiences and moments. You just kind of hope that they're going to just clean it up. Hopefully it is sooner. Right now, all we can do is focus on what we're doing: doing it right. And I just hope that's going to pay off eventually."

On whether or not the Russians should be able to compete in Rio's Summer Olympic Games: "No. You can't clean up something like that in less than a year. You know you get benefits off these drugs and what not. It's not really my call. You can see the results and what not. Times have slowed, so you can see that maybe there's an effort. There is only so much we can talk about. You just hope that it is going to get cleaned up. Again, we just have to focus on ourselves. I think the U.S. team is the strongest. And it is the hardest team to make. We're doing it the right way."

On whether or not she may get a medal upgrade - to silver - from her bronze medal performance in the 2013 Moscow world championship 800 meter final: "I don't know what's going to happen for it. I'm just waiting for it. But I know what my potential is. I know I gave it my best that day. I only feel bad for Alysia [Montano - who would move up to bronze if there is a medal upgrade]. She should have been a medalist every championship. But again, you just pray that everything will be sorted out."

On her mindset about competing in a world championship on America soil as opposed to one in a foreign country: "I am definitely excited. My family is all in the same time zone so they get to watch. And my neighbors get to watch. And when I step on the line I am definitely thinking about them. I really feel that support. It's just being in the States and you're wearing that uniform. But again, you just want to compete and do your best on that day." Amen.

Dave Hunter

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