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The huddle

February 1, 2019

Olympian and World Champion Georganne Moline Talks About the Importance of the Coach-Athlete Relationship

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Georganne Moline is to the right. Photo by SPIKES

Amidst her incredible collegiate career at the University of Arizona where she placed second in the NCAA finals, Georganne Moline earned a spot on the roster for the 2012 Olympics as the youngest competitor in the 400m Hurdles. After an impressive fifth place finish in London, she went on to earn the title of World Champion in the 4x400m relay at the IAAF World Indoor Championships. In the 2019 season she will be competing in the 800m race and will be making her debut in the event Saturday, February 2nd at the Camel City Invitational. Georganne is coached by UA head coach Fred Harvey, and offers advice to those looking to compete at the collegiate or even olympic level.

LRT Sports: What is the best piece of advice that you can offer a high school athlete looking to play/race at the next level?

Georganne: Stay patient! Running at the next level is a huge transition and it is very easy to feel defeated when you have to juggle early morning practices, sometimes double days, school, study hall, and your social life. Being that we are athletes and it’s our competitive nature to want to be great at everything, you have to understand that this is a process. Keep your focus on everything in your control! Being deliberate with recovery, eating healthy, and working hard at practice and in the classroom are all things in your control!

LRT Sports: Coming out of high school in Phoenix, you were being highly recruited. What was it that made you choose to go The University of Arizona with Coach Harvey? Please Explain.

Georganne: When Coach Harvey came on an in-home visit, he said something that stuck with me: “I believe in you”. It has always been important to me to find a coach that believes in me; a coach who doesn’t just see me as another number on the team who can earn points, but an athlete that could possibly have a career with running beyond college. Coach Harvey always put me and my needs before anything and ensured that we were always on the same page.

LRT Sports: Coach Harvey made a trip out to you at home during the recruiting process. Can you tell us about that visit and how it won you over?

Georganne: When coach spoke the words “I believe in you”, a million emotions went through my body. I felt like every other coach I met with constantly told me how many points I could score for the team but they never once told me what they could do for me as an individual who wanted to grow as an athlete. Coach Harvey reiterated how he was going to help me become the athlete I wanted to be. He was looking out for ME and how I could reach the goals I had set for myself.

LRT Sports: LRT Sports helps to educate high school athletes and their families on the recruiting process, their information comes from head coaches and real and raw experiences from current and former student-athletes, would you have used them as a resource when going through the recruiting process?

Georganne: Yes, most definitely! Choosing a coach and program that is right for you is a very stressful process – unless you have family or close friends that have gone through the process, nobody truly understands all of the factors when deciding to make that next jump. It can really cause you to feel stressed and  non-equipped for that next step when ultimately this should be an exciting journey!

LRT Sports: Was there anything about the recruiting process that you wish you could change?

Georganne: I am beyond happy with my decision (I still train with Coach Harvey to this day) however I wish I knew the right questions to ask at the time of my visits so that I could’ve better prepared myself for what it was going to be like my first year— it would’ve saved me so many tears haha I was so hard on myself my freshman year because I didn’t understand why I was always tired and sometimes couldn’t complete workouts… FYI you are perfectly normal if you are experiencing this! It’s a huge transition but you will adapt!

LRT Sports: Once you settled into the team what was the dynamics between you and Coach Harvey?

Georganne: Coach Harvey became a father figure to me. Growing up, it has always been my mom and I. Coach became a primary support system for me and one of my biggest motivators. When he noticed that I wasn’t myself at practice because I had outside things bothering me, he would pull me to the side and always ask how I was. When I had tough mental days, coach would change practice so that I could take care of myself and the things that were bothering me. He always put my needs first. Coach Harvey is also so remarkable in the way that he pushes all of us to be the greatest versions of ourselves. He coaches so that his athletes can reach their goals, not his!

LRT Sports: What is the most exciting part about playing at such a competitive level?

Georganne: I absolutely love being able to travel the world and experience different cultures. I don’t come from a lot, so traveling was something my mom and I never really did because of finances. I am so thankful for this sport because I have been to places I have only seen in magazines and there are a couple times a year I bring my mom so that we can experience these moments together!

LRT Sports: During your collegiate career you unfortunately dealt with injuries including a stress fracture of the tibia, and back issues resulting in a redshirted outdoor season your freshman year. How did this affect you and your career, and what allowed you to persevere and come out on top?

Georganne: At the moment, my injuries were heartbreaking but they ended up being huge blessings in disguise. Through my injuries, I learned a lot about myself. I found weaknesses and made them my strengths- (one of my injuries was caused by improper technique when lifting so when I was healed, I made it a point to be deliberate with learning the small details which ultimately lead to me becoming stronger in the weight room and it translated onto the track) My mental strengths also surfaced and I started to realize how resilient I truly was which better prepared me for other bumps along the road that came my way.

LRT Sports: After an amazing collegiate career had ended in 2013 you stayed at UA with Coach Harvey and took on the role as a volunteer assistant coach for the Wildcats. What drove this decision to stay at your alma mater?

Georganne: Coach Harvey and I have a great partnership and I truly believe he is the only coach that can get me to the goals I have set for myself. Not only do I think he is one of the most knowledgeable coaches out there, but he understands me and my needs. It goes beyond an athlete/coach relationship – he has taken on that fatherly role.

LRT Sports: Can you talk a little about the importance of finding a coach that you connect with and what your relationship with Coach Harvey means to you?

Georganne: It is one thing to find a coach that is “great” and it is another to find a coach that is “great for you” — there are so many coaches out there that are amazing, but it is so important to find a coach that understands your needs!

LRT Sports: When did you realize you had Olympic potential and what did that mean for you?

Georganne: I really didn’t see the Olympics in my future until the year of the Olympics in 2012 actually. I had been injured almost every year in college and I dealt with a lot of self doubt and mental struggles. Coach constantly told me that I was special and that my day was going to come where I would surprise myself but I guess I wasn’t totally convinced until my injury in 2012 that forced me to sit my indoor season out. Coach sat me down and told me that I was going to be more than okay and that it was the time to really focus on everything in my control. I started to change my diet and cook for myself every meal, I went to bed early so my body could recover, and I did rehab everyday. Making the Olympic team was one of the greatest feelings in the world because I knew that I did everything possible to set myself up for success so when I was at the starting line at the Olympic Trials, I knew that if I just went out there and gave it everything I had, I could not fail. Regardless if I made the team or not, I knew I did everything I could up to that point to give myself the opportunity to succeed. I had already won!

 

LRT Sports: What is the first word that came to mind when you knew you had made it to the Olympics?

Georganne: Relieved. After making the finals of the Olympic Trials, I broke down and cried. The unknown of the next day (the finals where I had to place top 3 to punch my ticket to London) brought me so much anxiety because although I wanted so badly to make the Olympics, I wasn’t sure if it was “my time”. Was I ready for the pressures people would put on me when “Olympian” became my new title?I then started to just focus on the present and trusted that everything would work out the way it was meant to.

LRT Sports: What was the best part about being a part of Team USA? Any advice that you can give to athletes that want to follow in your shoes and make it to the Olympics?

Georganne: I loved not only representing my family and my state but my entire country. It’s a feeling I can’t put into words.

Advice: do not compare your journey with anyone else’s. I often focused too much on how far behind I was because I never did club track growing up and also from my injuries that set me back. Understand that we are all going through our own struggles and although it may seem like some people have it easier than you, it has no bearing on your journey. Regardless of the cards stacked against you, trust in yourself and take it all a day at a time. Never forget to pat yourself on the back for small victories and always be kind to yourself during the process- we are often way too hard on ourselves and don’t always see the growth we make.

LRT Sports: What is the funniest moment that you can remember that happened during the Olympics?

Georganne: Usain Bolt had said hi to me and started up a conversation. He then asked me my name and my event an after I answered him, I didn’t want to fan girl too hard so I proceeded to ask him what events he ran — he kind of chuckled and I totally pretended to not know who he was. It was awesome.

LRT Sports: What is your go to meal before a meet?

Georganne: Honestly it’s so hard to be consistent with meals because when you travel, you have to adapt to what they serve BUT if I have the option to get to a grocery store I will pick up some bagels, shredded chicken or turkey, Muenster or Havarti cheese, avocado, and cherub tomatoes and makes a loaded bagel sandwich!!

I also really love making Greek yogurt bowls with granola, berries, and drizzled with honey!  

YOUR JOURNEY STARTS HERE