Tori Bowie is one of our finest sprinters. In London 2017, Tori won the 100 meters with a brutal dive in the last meters. She recovered and anchored the US team to victory in the 4x100m. At the 2018 Pre Classic, Tori Bowie tore her quad in 2018, and changed coaches, after a time of rehab. Stuart Weir did this interview in mid 2018.
Tori Bowie Questions
RunBlogRun, 1: How did you get into track?
Tori Bowie I was kind of forced to do it. In high school I remember playing basketball. And my high school basketball coach had the bright idea that we should start a track team. But it was a small school and we didn’t have many people – not enough for a basketball team and a track team – so she forced us to do it, making it mandatory.
You know, at the time it was a struggle. It was a struggle at the beginning and I remember being kicked off the team for about two weeks. My coach and I had this argument because I was uncomfortable in the track gear. I was a little tomboy and I felt really uncomfortable when I put on the track gear. And she was: “if you don’t want to follow the rules you might as well leave”. After two weeks I gave in and I think it’s been the best decision of my life. The first thing I achieved something was in the 2011 when I won both the indoor and outdoor NCAA title. Those two championships gave me hope that I could have a future.
RunBlogRun, #2: Your name is Frentorish: where does that come from?
Tori Bowie: I don’t even know what my name means. I asked my dad: “why did you name me Frentorish?”. He said: “I wanted you to have a name that no one else had”. But I’m not sure what the meaning is. I go by the name of Tori because it is easier to pronounce.
RunBlogRun, #3: In 2014 you won a Diamond League and in 2015 you won a World Championship bronze, was that your breakthrough?
Tori Bowie: Yes, sir, I would definitely agree with you. 2014 was my breakthrough year. That was a year when I could say for sure that I surprised myself. But I didn’t know what the hell I was doing. I was just out there racing. Just trying to be competitive. I had seen those girls compete before, several times, girls like Shelly, Allyson Felix had a whole bunch of huge names. So I knew when I was on the line, I had to bring my A game for sure.
I don’t really remember much about the 2015 Beijing world championships other than that I regret not running the 200. But 2015 was just my second year of sprinting so it was another year of me learning and appreciating it – just appreciating being in the race and being in the final.
RunBlogRun, #4: You won 3 medals in the Rio Olympics, what is your assessment of those games?
Tori Bowie: When I went to Rio, I had to huge expectations, huge expectations that I did not meet. I went there with high hopes of three gold medals and I left with gold from the relay, silver from the 100 and bronze from the 200. Good, but I had higher expectations… But I never once had any negative thoughts about what I got. I am very thankful for all medals whether they are gold or not.
Rio was like a dream come true. My plan when I got there was to take in the whole experience because it only happens every four years. I want it again in 2020. In Rio, sitting on the bus and taking in the scenery – whether mountains or water. Everything about Rio was special.
RunBlogRun, #5: How did you approach the London 2017 World Championships?
Tori Bowie: I was hoping to get the gold medal but I didn’t want to put any pressure on myself. So I kind of went to the meet not wanting to forget what my coach had taught me. I wanted to stay focused. I had a long chat with the coaches before I went overseas. They said: “we think you’re talented but you’re not focused on the race. And this is what it boils down to: the person who can do what they had been taught in training, who can get in the competition and do it there. But first you have to be focused and go to the line”. So the two weeks or so before the competition, that was my main goal to stay focused on what I was doing and what I had been taught. So for the first time in a competition, I didn’t lose my focus.
RunBlogRun, #6: You won the London 100m with a dive, where did that come from?
Tori Bowie: I wanted to win. I wanted to win so bad because there was so much doubt going into the race – not from me but from fans and other athletes. Like why do you doing the 100 over the 200 when you are better 200 runner. I didn’t like what people were saying to me. I wanted the title of fastest woman in the world. And I was extremely motivated by all the talk and all the doubts.
My plan was to run the 100 and 200 but when I took a fall in the 100 final and my hip was swollen and trying to recover from that I didn’t think that I could get on the line and fight enough to give myself 100% chance to do well. I’m not going to let my competitors beat me when I’m not feeling 100%.
RunBlogRun, #7: You used to long jump and triple jump, have you given that up now?
Tori Bowie: No long jump is not in the past. Earlier this year my coach let me take a jump – and when I say a jump, I mean only one. I felt like a big kid after it because I forget how much I enjoy doing it. So I’m so looking forward to doing more. Triple jump – that’s gone for sure.
RunBlogRun, #8: Do you see yourself as mainly a 100m runner?
Tori Bowie: I haven’t put any limits on my career. Before I retire I want to run 400 and see what my best time is for 400. And I want to put my best long jump out there, my best 100m, my best 200m so I’m not limiting myself to anything.
RunBlogRun, #9: Do you enjoy relays?
Tori Bowie: I do. I would say that was the race I enjoyed most was at the Olympics. I think it’s because it’s something new for me at this level. So I am enjoying it. I prefer the last leg. I don’t have much experience of handing over the baton yet to last leg is where I am most comfortable right now.