by Austin Proctor, Reporter, THE MANE NEWS (gpatoday.com)
Humbly, new GPA Track Throwing Coach Michelle Carter, steps into the shot put circle. Winds up and whoosh! Throws the shot put 10 feet further than our varsity boys.
At age 28, Carter is the current American record holder in shot put with a distance of 20.24 meters. She has competed in the Beijing 2008 Summer Olympics, where she placed 15th, competed in the London 2012 Summer Olympics where she placed 6th, won a silver medal at the 2001 World Youth Championships, a gold medal at the 2004 World Junior Championships, a Collegiate National Championship in 2006, and… is one of our new track coaches here.
Some would argue that Carter got her athleticism from her father, Michael Carter, who is a former U.S. Track Olympian and NFL Defensive Tackle. He is the only athlete to win an Olympic medal and a Super Bowl ring in the same year.
In all, Mr. Carter won three Super Bowl rings and was selected to three pro bowls in his eight years with the San Francisco 49ers. He attended Southern Methodist University, where he won many National Championships in both track and football. Mr. Carter also won a silver medal for shot put in the 1984 Los Angeles Summer Olympics.
Both Michelle and her father are unique because they both hold the current National High School Record in shot put. Michelle set her record of 54-10¾ in 2003 at Red Oak High School in Red Oak, Texas at her senior year state UIL track meet, and her father, Michael, set his record of 77-0 at Jefferson High School in Dallas, Texas in 1979.
According to the National Association of State and Federal High School Associations (NFHS) Article on nfhs.org, Michael also threw 75-9 and 74-8½ that same year, which rank second and fifth on the all-time list in the NFHS’ National High School Sport Record Book.
At some throwing practices, students will get coaching advice from both Michael and Michelle. So, with all of these accolades and opportunities, why did Coach Michelle Carter decide to coach the “flying lions” here?
“I am coaching here because Coach Drummond asked me and because I like volunteering,” said Carter.
Head Track Coach Jon Drummond has coached Michelle since 2008, and has watched her grow up in the sport. He asked her to coach here because of her accomplishments and because of her love for kids.
“It is a good mental break from training, and coaching helps you see what you are doing wrong,” said Drummond.
Drummond knows how training as an athlete helps to develop coaching abilities, and vice versa, because he is also a former Olympian and Coach of the 2012 Olympic Gold Medal Women’s 4×100 Relay Team.
Michelle coaches about ten students in shot put and some students in discus as well. So far, they are doing well and achieving personal records.
Her whole family lives in Dallas where she grew up. She went to Red Oak High School and attended the University of Texas.
“This is my first coaching job,” said Carter.
Carter still competes in meets and is in training herself. So she does not ask more of her students than she does of herself. Her expectations for her students are that you work hard and give it your best effort. She looks to make each student better by looking at the individual’s needs and pushing them to get better.
“It is challenging to teach my kids how to do things that come so naturally to me,” said Carter.
Challenging students is something this coach does well. Perhaps it is because she knows that is what makes us better.
“Even when you are exhausted and your whole body is quaking, Coach Carter knows that you can run faster, throw farther, and get better,” said Junior Shot Putter, Katy Smith. “Coach Carter won’t let you stop until you have worked as hard as you physically can at that point in time.”
Coach Carter is humble and easy to get to know. Her students here genuinely like her.
“I love Coach Carter and I was amazed by how quickly she learned all our names,” said Smith. “She really cares about all of her athletes.”
Students do not forget that she is an Olympian also, and they respect her own knowledge and abilities.
“I feel so honored to be coached by an Olympian,” said Smith. “It is amazing to watch her throw and then to attempt to mimic her.”
Mimicking her may be a challenge in itself, since she can throw a 15-pound shot put and still make it look easy.
“I feel so blessed to get to work with such a talented coach. I also feel honored to get the opportunity to work with an Olympian and get tips from America’s current number one female shot put thrower,” said Smith.