The Shot Diva’s Magical Visit to New Dorph High School, with an important message!

IMG_5575.JPGMichelle Carter, Olympic gold medalsit and the author, Jeff Benjamin, Rio 2016

Michelle Carter visited New Dorph High School in Staten Island on November 14. And guess what? One of the teachers there, who was happily surprised on her visit, was Jeff Benjamin, our long term writer for all things running geek, from American Athletics to We were sure glad Jeff was there and even was able to get in a couple pictures.


“No matter what happens to you, you can overcome it.” So said 2016 Olympic Shot Put Gold Medalist Michele Carter here at New Dorp High School on Staten Island this morning. Carter, whose American record throw of 67′ 8 1/4″ upset favorite Valerie Adams of New Zealand for the Gold in Rio, was not just talking athletics to over 1,000 students who came to see her. Carter also related to the students how, as a child, she was diagnosed with dyslexia and ADHD. According to High School Advisors, “They said there is no way I should have graduated high school and that college will be too hard for me to do,” recounted Carter, whose appearance was sponsored by, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping kids of all ages with learning disabilities. “That gave me the motivation to get better. I may not be the average person but I knew I was better than that”, said Carter, whose High School Prep throw of 54′ 10 3/4″ still stands as the National record.

FullSizeRender.jpgMichelle Carter and the author, at New Dorp High School

Aside from her dedication to the Sport in her early years, Carter also had to master her academic challenges as well. “Tutoring was something I relied on,” she said. “My study habits offered me strategies on time management…Sometimes when you put time limits on myself to get things done I wouldn’t procrastinate -I set myself up by taking advantage of everything I could.”

Like other Prep athletes, Carter sacrificed lots of things to follow her dreams. ” I didn’t go to the prom but I went to college for free!”, she said of her acceptance to the University of Texas. ” I also learned to set small goals to build yourself up and then you can then reach your big goal.”

For some Carter’s big goals were qualifying for two Olympic teams in 2008 (where she finished in 15th place) and in 2012 (5th place). Compounding those accomplishments with a herniated disc and it looked like the end to a good career. “But I believed in myself so much because I believed I could win” which motivated her to try again in 2016. “I never gave up on myself,” she said. “If you don’t put the work in how do you accomplish your goals?” Her total positivity in her beliefs kept her motivated, which was also driven by a desire to prove her naysayers wrong. “There’s Nothing too big that you can’t conquer if you put in the work and Don’t let anyone stop you. The only person who can stop you is you!” she said.

When asked by a student what her greatest fear was, it was fear of not reaching her potential. “I didn’t want to look back and say “Should’ve, would’ve, could’ve,” she said. “I believe in myself! Just Go after your dreams and work hard…It’s not easy but it’s not impossible”

IMG_5573.JPGMichelle Carter’s school ID for New Dorp, photo by Jeff Benjamin

When then asked if she had a role model which affected her Carter pointed to her dad, 1984 Olympic Silver Medalist Michael Carter. “My Dad is also a Super Bowl Champion with the San Francisco 49ers,” she proudly proclaimed of her father who also set the still standing boys national prep record 81′ 3 1/2″, a record which has stood since 1981!

When the concluding question focused on if she experienced any regrets due to her disabilities, Carter unhesitatingly stated that she would not change a thing. “It made me unique,” she said. “It would have changed who I am. My disabilities make me who I am and it makes me work harder!”

Finally, more Champion words from a Champion athlete! “We are all created for a reason!”


  • Jeff Benjamin

    Jeff Benjamin has written for 30 years for American Track and Field along with RunBlogRun. The Former President of the Staten Island AC & Chair of the Staten Island Running Association was the 5th man scorer for his Susan Wagner High School NYC XC City Championship team. Also a member of the College of Staten Island Sports Hall of Fame for XC, Jeff currently serves as the LDR Chairman for USATF NY. A passionate (or fanatical) follower of the Sport, some of Jeff's subjects have included Sebastian Coe, Emma Coburn, Eamonn Coghlan, Matt Centrowitz, Jim Spivey, Galen Rupp, Joe Newton, Tom Fleming, Ajee’ Wilson, Bill Rodgers, Allan Webb, Abel Kiviat, Jordan Hassay, Marty Liquori, Caster Semenya, Rod Dixon, Carl Lewis and Jim Ryun as well as Book Reviews and articles covering meets and races in the Northeast U.S.

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