Alabama native representing Team USA at Tokyo Olympics

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The Tokyo Olympics are right around the corner.

Quanesha Burks is an Alabama native who will represent Team USA Track & Field.

The Ozark born, Hartselle raised, long jumper has had quite the journey from a small town to sports biggest stage.

When Quanesha Burks got her track and field scholarship to the University of Alabama in 2013 she saw it as a means for her to be the first member of her family to go to college.

It wasn’t long before she was a four-time SEC champion and two-time NCAA champion in the long jump.

During her time with the Crimson Tide she decided she wanted to be an Olympian.

She’s been telling herself it would happen ever since.

When she came in third in the long jump at the Olympic trials, her dream finally came true.

“I was like, ‘Oh my gosh! I’m an Olympian,'” Burks said. “I think it was so many emotions going into that track meet because I was preparing for five years so it was more of like a we did it, okay now I can breathe.”

Her journey to the games has had many ups and downs, she lost her grandfather in 2019 and this year she couldn’t train for two months because of severe bone bruising, but she used the obstacles as motivators at the trials.

“You faced something that a lot of people could not face and you’re here,” Burks said. “So you have an opportunity of a lifetime, let’s capitalize on it. It was honestly just great being at trials. I was nervous at first when I was dropping down but then I was like Grandaddy’s with me so let’s go do this.”

She says her confidence is her key to success.

“I wasn’t going to let anyone tell me that I wasn’t going to be an Olympian at all,” Burks said. “If you just believe in yourself, have confidence in yourself, remember to just trust God, the process and yourself, you’re unstoppable.”

Ahead of the games at the end of the month Burks says her mental game is stronger than ever.

“I’m ready to go showcase what I’m capable of doing and I know what I’m capable of doing will definitely get me a medal for sure, so going into this Olympic games is like my time is now, I belong here, let’s go turn some heads and let’s go make a statement for sure,” Burks said.

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