Here are seven images of Tori Bowie, the 2015 US national champion and world championships bronze medalist in the 100m dash. Needless to say, but I’ll say it anyway, she’s one of the fastest women on the planet.
These were taken during an informal press conference in Doha, Qatar, last week ahead of track and field’s international Diamond League series opener, a competition I’ve covered most years since its inception in 2010.
I sat in with Bowie and a couple other journalists for just over 11 minutes, thus the clever title of what I hope will grow into an occasional candid portrait project under the name, “Eleven Minutes With..” or, if time is more constrained, “Seven Minutes With…”. You get the idea.
It’s not a lot of time, but enough to get a general feel for the subject, to experience their different moods and reactions along with an introduction to who they are. It’s a challenge I like, especially so when the subject is as animated as Bowie.
So, who is Tori Bowie?
Originally from Hattiesburg, Mississippi, Bowie was a high school standout in the sprints and long jump, which continued through her collegiate career at the University of Southern Mississippi where she was a two-time NCAA champion in the long jump. That came, she said, despite being in a program that had absolutely no structure.
That changed upon graduation in 2012 when she relocated to Clermont, Florida, to train under noted sprints coach Lance Brauman, who is all about structure. The transition took some getting used to, but it’s paying off.
She blasted through the event’s 11-second barrier for the first time at the 2014 Diamond League meet in Monaco, where she notched her first career series victory clocking 10.80, the fastest time in the world that year.
She wasn’t faster last year, but she was more consistent, which landed her the US national title and later an impressive bronze medal finish at the world championships.
Two questions from the exchange that stood out:
Q: Are you easy to work with?
A: (laughs) Maybe not.
Q: Which part of your race needs the most improvement?
A: Finding the right start position – and I think we’ve found it. I think once I start executing the start position, the world is in trouble.
You can listen to the entire chat here.
Bowie won the 100m contest the following evening in what was my favorite race of the meet.
About a step behind for the first half, Bowie pulled even with Dafne Schippers, last years world 200m champion, and two-time Olympic champion Veronica Campbell-Brown with about 25 meters to go. At that point she pulled ahead to edge Schippers by a scant 0.03 seconds to win in 10.80 to equal her personal best.
Most impressive was the confident composure she displayed in the race’s waning stages.
“I feel that I’m a much better runner than I was last season,” she said.
A shot of the finish that I took from my press seat follows the portraits.
And in the final meters of the Doha race:
Tori Bowie links:
Candid portraits: Doha, Qatar, 05-May-2016.
Race image: Doha, Qatar, 06-May-2016
And for the record, the lead photo serves as today’s Pic du Jour, the site’s 861st (!) straight.
Cross-posted with my other site BobRamsak.com