Do you ever watch the Olympics and wonder 'What does it take to get on their level?' We sure do. When we met Chari Hawkins, 2020 Olympics hopeful, we had a million questions. She was kind enough to give us the scoop - which we now share with you! We are impressed with all of her hard work and tenacity and can't wait to see her through her journey to the Olympics. Enjoy!
VR: What were your favorite things to do growing up?
Chari: I have always been into make-believe. I played with barbies until I was in seventh grade (maybe eighth can’t remember 😉) and would act out every movie in the bathroom mirror. I’ve also always been into sports. I grew up playing basketball, volleyball, and competed in gymnastics and cheer-leading.
VR: When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Chari: I’ve always wanted to be a movie star, but when I was young I used to tell people that I was going to be an anesthesiologist or brain surgeon.
VR: When did you get started in track?
Chari: I started doing track in seventh grade, and to be honest, I only did it because my friends were all doing it (thanks peer pressure!) I only did the high jump and long jump, and started doing the hurdles in ninth grade. I didn’t start the Heptathlon until I was in college, mostly because before that I had no idea what it was!
VR: What inspired you and kept you motivated?
Chari: Potential. Whether it be the potential to get college paid for, the potential for getting a better score, or the potential to make a world or Olympic team, I’ve always let future opportunities become goals and really pushed myself to let them become realities and fulfill my own potential.
VR: When did you decide to set your sights on the Olympics?
Chari: I think I did so in 2016. I had a really unfortunate experience that I felt really hindered my ability to make the Team. I knew it was something I wanted to accomplish, and so I really set my sights to make the team in 2020. It definitely takes a lot of hard work earlier but it’s making me see that you don’t have to be better than everyone else to make the Olympic team, you just have to have a specific goal and show patience and trust in the process to achieve it.
VR: How do you prepare to compete in the Olympics?
Chari: With such an enormous event, it’s so important to prepare mentally as well as physically. Mental training is something that a lot of people don’t take enough advantage of. But something that will change the game itself.
VR: How is the competition as a heptathlete?
Chari: I have to say it is absolutely draining. Every single time you do an event you get a little bit more exhausted. You have to warm up, cool down, warm up, cool down, several different times. It’s so tiring. But with so many different things to focus on, it is also such a thrilling event. There is never a dull moment, and it is so much fun!
VR: What is Olympic training like? (When do you start, how many hours per day, etc.)
Chari: My long days we'll go about five hours, and my short days we’ll go about two. Play practices will start around 10 AM and will finish mid afternoon. Play training is so much more than just practice. Every morning and night, I will do my rehabilitation and core strength. My supplements need to be taken twice a day, and everything I eat should be regulated and carefully calculated so that I’m getting enough calories and nutrients and good stuff in my diet to thrive and be successful!
VR: Is there a specific diet that you need to go on when prepping for the Olympics?
Chari: When it comes to diet, the only thing I really need to do is make sure that I am getting enough calories, protein, carbs, etc. I just want my body to be healthy and have enough energy to make it through my grueling practices.
VR: What are some of your best tips/tricks you use to help you keep in shape and ready for the Olympics?
Chari: Consistency is the best trick for anything sports-wise. Whether it be training for the Olympics, or training to be healthy. Working out and doing the “little things” all the time every day consistently will mean the difference between seeing the results you desire and hoping to see the results you desire.