“I think you can almost want something too bad. Because I just wanted it so bad. I wasn’t relaxed. It wasn’t fun anymore. It was just tunnel vision on winning — and I wasn’t winning! I wanted it so bad and it wasn’t happening. It was very draining.”
What happens when you set big, dreamy, lofty goals — but when it counts the most, you fall short? That’s what this series, “Just Missed,” is about. These conversations are about dealing with disappointment. They are reminders that progress is never linear, and that it’s not always the big wins or the losses that define us, but the moments in between.
Chanelle was a standout athlete in high school. She was named Gatorade’s Athlete of the Year, and became addicted to winning.
But when she went away to college at the University of Tennessee, she was no longer “high school Chanelle.” She wasn’t winning. She wasn’t the fastest on the team. And she struggled. She had a goal of becoming an NCAA 800m champion, but missed that goal, finishing second at both indoors and outdoors.
From there, Chanelle’s running career saw high highs and challenging lows. She decided to compete at the professional level, but struggled to find a sponsor early on. In 2014, Chanelle had a breakthrough: She won gold in the 800m at the World Athletics Indoor Championships, and became the only American woman to ever win a gold medal there. She signed with Nike. She won gold — three times — as a member of Team USA’s 4x800m relay at World Athletics Championships. She ran a personal best in the 800m: 1:59.10.
Then, in 2017, it all came crashing down. The hits came in rapid succession: a foot fracture, a pulmonary embolism that led to blood clots in her lungs, and, ultimately, a bout with mononucleosis. All of that led to her losing her sponsor. It all could’ve been career-ending, but Chanelle wouldn’t let that happen. She mounted a comeback — and last year, dealt with another foot fracture.
Today, Chanelle is up and running (up, literally, at altitude), gearing up for the U.S. Olympic Track & Field Trials. This is her story.
SPONSOR: Gatorade Endurance — Shop gatoradeendurance.com and use code ONTHERUN20 for 20% off your next Gatorade Endurance order.
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