HARRIMAN, Tenn. (WATE) — Sharrieffa Barksdale competed at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, reaching the semifinals in the women’s 400-meter hurdles. Now working as an alumni relations manager for US track and field, she presented her “Run, Jump and Throw” program at Harriman on Friday to help inspire the next generation of athletes.
Students in grades three through five from Bowers Elementary School participated in the program, marking the first-ever event of its kind to take place in the Harriman community.
“What’s great is that we have this because we want to restore my track,” Barksdale said. “We really want to bring it back to life.”
The track is located across the street from Harriman High School and named after the 1984 Olympics.
Ralph “Hawkeye” Boston, who competed and won gold in 1960, silver in 1964 and bronze at the 1968 Olympics, first met Barksdale when she was on the basketball court. From what he saw that day, he knew she had what it took to be special.
“Remembering how it started,” Boston said. “How I first saw her on the basketball court and thought she had a thing for athleticism. Obviously I was right.”
The children who attended were able to learn from some of the best athletes in various aspects of athletics.
“It’s just so exciting to be here with the kids,” said 2008 gold medalist Mary Wineberg. “Really, I’ve just introduced kids to athletics and had the experience of meeting Olympians, meeting world-class athletes and from what I’ve seen so far, they’ve were very excited to meet us.”
The children thanked the Olympians for the lessons and for representing their country with a “USA” chant at the end of the event.
If you would like to donate to help renovate the Sharrieffa Barksdale Track, donations can be made through Zelle at @MarthaWilkerson. All funds will be used to help bring the track back to life.
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