The track capital of the world, one of the many nicknames given to Fayetteville.
Those who compete for the Razorbacks understand this well, as championships are expected year in and year out.
Dominique Blake, an Olympic medalist and Penn State graduate, now calls Fayetteville home and hopes the U of A’s facilities can put her career back on track.
Blake said, “Fayetteville is track town, everybody knows it as track town U.S.A. It’s the one place maybe in the world or the nation that I’ve been in where people value the track program more than the football program.”
She said it’s phenomenal, and exciting.
Blake was an All-American in college before winning bronze in the 4 x 400 meter relay for her native Jamaica in the 2012 London Olympics.
She said she realized a dream that had been with her for her whole life.
“For career day, people would normally dressed up as a fireman or a teacher or a police officer, from Kindergarten straight up I was an olympics medalist every single year,” the olympian said. “My friends thought I was absolutely crazy.”
But, a four-year suspension over a banned substance threw her off course.
Some may have given up, but Blake used that time to keep training. She said she is focused on competing in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Legendary Razorback Track coach Lance Harter is on board and said he believes Blake is a great example for his team.
Harter said, “The idea that you’re tenacious enough and have the desire to prove everybody wrong, it was a mistake obviously, we payed handsomely for it, but we’re gonna come back and take advantage of this opportunity and make things right.”
The track star said she knows how difficult the journey will be.
Even though she’s a runner, she hopes to jump over life’s hurdles in stride.
Blake said, “Being removed four years from what you love, you know, it takes a lot of mental toughness to overcome something like that.”
Mental toughness she continues to display.
Story by UATV Reporter Andrew Epperson