Muna Lee- No Pain & Lots to Gain!
This month we feature sprinter Muna Lee. Muna won our Outdoor Nationals 100 meters in 2002, excelled at LSU with several NCAA championships and represented this country at two Olympic Games.
2008 Olympics - 5th 100 meters, 4th 200 meters
2004 Olympics - 7th 200 meters
2009 IAAF World Championships 4th 200 meters
2005 IAAF World Championships 7th 100 meters
NCAA Indoor Championships:2002 (1st 200m); 2003 (1st, 60m & 200m); 2004 (1st, 60m) US Olympic Team Trials: 2008 (1st 100m)
100 meters - 10.85
200 meters - 22.01
200 meters indoors - 22.49
55 meters - 6.73
60 meters - 7.11
Muna: Who inspired me to run track? Weird story...I was actually a swimmer/diver growing up but one day in middle school I decided I wanted to go out for tennis...there were a billion girls there trying out too. I only played tennis for two weeks when a couch came up to me and asked if I wanted to run track. I left that day and never looked back. But, I look up to athletes like Jackie Joyner Kersee, and Gale Devers. Dan O'Brian was the first athlete I knew about.
NSSF: What was it like being a student athlete and running at your high school?
Muna: I hated high school. I was such a shy person. I was popular because I was good at sports but I wasn't cool. I had a teacher who did not believe women should play sports and she use to yell at me. I never would talk back but one day I did and she kicked me out the class. My class mates actually stood up for me but I did get an F in her class. All A's and a F. My mom stepped in then.
NSSF: What was it like being a student-athlete and running at LSU
Muna: In college it was a totally different experience. We traveled so much which was fun. We' weren't the only athletes on campus going through things so others could relate. I had a great time in college.
NSSF: What is your favorite memory from high school?!
Muna: Winning the state meet my freshman year. We only had 4 girls and two of us actually had open events. I won my events but my best friend really won the meet. she got 2nd in everything! she wasn't projected to get higher than 4th. Matt Tegencamp's high school won the men's title too. we've been friends ever since.
NSSF: What is your favorite memory from college?
Muna: My brother walked into the indoor stadium at the NCAA indoor championships right before i ran my 200. I ran the fasted time in the world and broke the collegiate record. It was the first time he's ever seen me run in person.
NSSF: What was your most exciting event or race?
Muna: My favorite event is the 200 but I haven't quite put together a race yet. I have always just ran it without thinking. I really had fun running the 4x1 in Helsinki in 05. I was beat up but the girls on the team got me so hyped for the race I didn't feel any pain. it was the best time I've had in a while.
NSSF: What have you been doing since you left college and how long have you been doing it?
Muna: I am currently on injury reserve. Have been since the bad relay exchange in Berlin in 09. I just recently got cleared to race again because I have NO PAIN! excited. It hard to come back and race after limping around for so long but I'm a work in progress. I have also took some time to design a few things and try to finish school.
NSSF: What advice would you give to other student athletes?
Muma: Competing in a sport in college is a bonus but having the opportunity to get a degree is a blessing. Take advantage of it while you have can. Being athletic goes so fast but that degree will be yours forever.
Author’s note: My first memory of Muna Lee was at the NSSF Outdoor Nationals in 2002. The USATF’s Golden Spike tour was included in the meet that year and the high school 100 meters was scheduled to be shown on television. USATF provided a finish line tape for the events. Muna won the 100 and, unaccustomed to running through a finish line tape, she tripped and fell. It was a bad fall with some nasty track burns but she got right up and celebrated the moment before moving on to the medical tent... talk about tough! Injuries kept her out of the Olympic Trials this year but we expect to see this two-time Olympian recover and excel once again.
Photo by Victah Sailor for PhotoRun.com