2008 Olympics: U.S. Women's Track and Field

Jeanette Bolden
U.S. Olympic Women's Track and Field Coach
Thursday, July 10, 2008 12:00 PM

Jeanette Bolden, coach of the U.S. Women's Track and Field team, was online Thursday, July 10 at noon ET to take your questions about the recently completed U.S. Olympic Team Trials and about what to expect from the team in Beijing during the 2008 Olympics.

A transcript follows

Bolden is the women's track and field coach at UCLA, and won a gold medal as part of the 4x100 meter relay team during the 1984 Summer Olympics. Bolden, who has suffered from asthma since childhood, also is the founder and director of the Jeanette Bolden Asthma and Allergy Track Clinic and a member of the Board of Directors for the Asthma and Allergy Foundation


Jeanette Bolden: Hi this is Jeanette Bolden. I'm so excited to be here speaking with everyone today. The trials were amazing and Beijing is going to be even better. We've got an excellent team for this summer, so I can't wait to take your questions. Let's get started!


Philadelphia: What were your thoughts in the midst of competition at the 1984 Olympics and what were you thinking when you realized you had won a Gold Medal?

Jeanette Bolden: The competition was great during the '84 Olympic games. I was thrilled to be competing in front of my hometown crowd. Becuase I got fourth in the 100m, I was overwhelmed to get a second chance at the gold medal in the 4x100 relay.


Silver Spring, Md.: Given the expectations of some of the women, especially in the short distances, would you call some of the trial results upsets, or, does this reflect greater depth of the women's program? And given your awareness of asthma, how worried are you about the impact of breathing conditions for these runners in the upcoming Olympics?

Jeanette Bolden: Because of Title IX, we're starting to see women's athletics flourish across the country. The Olympic trial was evidence of that. More women have qualified for the upcoming Olympic games than ever before. This team will be filled with depth and talent.

I do not believe that the air quality will be a problem. Our athletes will be well prepared for any conditions that they will face.


Katonah, N.Y.: Wow! I'm so impressed that you run with your asthma. I love to bike but find it really hard to climb the steep hills without losing my breath. I take an inhaler with me, but it doesn't always help. Do you have any advice?

Jeanette Bolden: I've always used my inhaler fifteen minutes prior to exercise. Most of the athletes that I know that have asthma follow this same regimen. You might want to talk to your doctor about whether your asthma is exercised induced or is triggered by allergens in the air, like mine is. Feel free to visit my Web site, www.asthmaontrack.com, for more information about allergic asthma and seeing a specialist in your area. Welcome to the asthma club, we are in good company LOL!


Alexandria, Va.: First, I just want to say that the U.S. Women's Track and Field team is an inspiration! I wish I could run like that! My question is, how have you prepared your team for the possible air quality problems in Beijing? Have you moved training locations? Thanks and good luck!!!!

Jeanette Bolden: Thank you! I believe that this is going to be one of our best women's teams yet. In my opinion, the air quality in Beijing will not be as big a problem as it is made out to be. The local organizing committee in Beijing have taken steps to reduce the amount of pollution in the air. For example, they have ceased all construction, reduced the amount of automobiles on the road and shut down some factories. The heat and the humidity will be more of a factor for us, but the athletes will be well-prepared for that.


Philadelphia: I've heard that not all asthma is exercise induced. What else can trigger an asthma attack?

Jeanette Bolden: You're right - there are many triggers for asthma, including allergies. I was born with asthma and my attacks are brought on whether or not I exercise. It wasn't until recently that I found out I have allergic asthma - which is triggered by dust, mold, mildew, pet dander. I saw my specialist and I was given an IgE test. This led to a more advanced treatment which has really made a difference over the last year. For more information about my story, allergic asthma and IgE testing, visit www.asthmaontrack.com.


Burbank, Calif.: When you were competing, did you desire to eventually become a coach? How did you get into coaching?

Jeanette Bolden: I went to UCLA and graduated with a BA degree in sociology. My lifelong dream was that I wanted to become a social worker. I took a year off from school to train for the '84 Olympic games. Once I won my gold medal, I wanted to continue competing and then help others to achieve their goals. I started off as a volunteer coach at UCLA and worked my way up from there. I just finished my fifteenth year as the head women's track and field coach at UCLA. I definitely believe that my sociology degree has come in handy with being a coach :)


Day in the Life of an Olympic Athlete: So can you give us an idea of what a day in the life of an Olympic Athlete is? How many hours of running, weight training etc? What do they do on the hours between training? Do they ever take a rest day? Thanks and good luck!

Jeanette Bolden: Prior to making an Olympic team, most athletes train for about three hours in the morning, do an hour and a half of weight lifting after that, rest, eat lunch, some have jobs, and then come back to the track for another two to three hours of practice in the evening. Some have families that they have to take care of, and also go to work in the evenings. There is a lot of sacrifice involved in preparing for the Olympic trials. Most athletes take one to two days off during the seven day week. Once athletes have made the Olympic team, they are now participating in various track meets before the Olympic games.

My story is a little different, because many times my practice regimen would have to be altered because of my allergic asthma. Many times I couldn't train in the morning because the freshly cut grass would bother my allergies. I would spend my time inside riding a bike or doing aerobic classes at night. I would have a hard time at track practice during the spring becuase of the allergens in the air. Now I've gotten my asthma on track. To read more about my story, check out my Web site: www.asthmaontrack.com.


Rockville, Md.: How is your asthma? Are you worried about the pollution in China and your own health?

Jeanette Bolden: I was recently told that I have allergic asthma. After getting an IgE test and being properly diagnosed by my specialist, my asthma symptoms are under control.


Washington, D.C.: Which country will present the U.S. women's team the most challenge in the 100, 200 and 4x100?

Jeanette Bolden: In the 100 and 200, Trinidad and Jamaica will be tough competitors. In the relay, Trinidad, Jamaica, Great Britain and Russia will present a challenge.

Please keep in mind that any team that makes it to the finals has an opportunity to bring home a medal for their country.


Fairfax, Va: Ever since I was a kid, the men's and women's 4 x 100 meter relay has been my favorite event to watch. Especially considering the U.S. seems to do so well! How is our women's team shaping up for 2008?

Good luck and Godspeed!

Jeanette Bolden: Considering I won an Olympic gold medal in the 4x100, that's my favorite event as well. It's my opinion that our men's and women's team will do very well in this Olympic games. Our women's team will have a lot of depth, with a combination of veteran athletes and fresh newcomers.


Rockville, Md.: Congratulations and good luck in August. Will you or the team have any time to explore China after their events?

Jeanette Bolden: Thank you very much. Many athletes will be competing in Europe after the games - they will be leaving China after the closing ceremony.


Washington, D.C.: There's a big concern about air pollution in Beijing and I was wondering if you have any thoughts about how it may affect you and other athletes with asthma.

Jeanette Bolden: The local organizing committee is doing all they can to reduce the pollution in Beijing. I have full confidence in their system. The heat and humidity will be more of a factor for athletes.


Jeanette Bolden: Thanks everyone! I had a great time chatting with all of you. Sorry I couldn't get to everyone's questions, and thanks for your encouragement. GO USA!


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