Shaunae Miller looks at The Tribune’s coverage of her performances at the IAAF World Championships in Beijing last month. Miller visited the newspaper’s offices on Friday. Also pictured is her father, Shaun. Photo by Shawn Hanna/Tribune Staff
As of Monday, September 21, 2015
By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
After an intense year of competition that saw her emerge as the second ranked woman in the world in the 400 metres, Shaunae Miller is just glad to be able to take some time off to relax at home with her family and friends before she starts her preparation in her goal to “shock the world with some crazy times.”
The 21-year-old superstar, showing off her silver medal she won at the 15th IAAF World Championships in Beijing, China in August, hopes to visit as many schools and Family Islands as she can over the next few weeks before she heads back to the United States to commence her training for the 2016 season and her bid to move up on the podium to the gold medal spot at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
On Friday after a brief visit to the CR Walker Secondary High School and before going to her alma mater at St Augustine’s College, Miller stopped into The Tribune where she was warmly received by the staff. She was entertained by managing director David Chappell, who quizzed her on just about everything, including her competition and rivals, training and leisure time.
Staff members like Lamech Johnson, Rashad Rolle, Nico Scavella, Tony Zervos, Philip Cumming and Jason Taylor were more intrigued by her beauty, six-foot, one-inch frame and the heavy silver medal that she allowed them to touch.
“It’s amazing to be home,” said Miller, who was accompanied by her father Shaun Miller. “It’s like a vacation for me, so I just want to spend some time here and on the Family Islands inspiring as many people as I can. I just want to have some fun with it.”
Fresh off her season-ending victory at the IAAF Diamond League in Brussels, Belgium in the women’s 400 metres, Miller said she couldn’t ask for a better performance, considering the amount of injuries that she encountered. In some instances, she managed to even surprise herself by her accomplishment that includes breaking the Bahamian national record of 22.14 seconds in winning the 200 metres in a meet in Kingston, Jamaica, on May 9 and running a personal best of 49.67 for the silver behind American Allyson Felix in Beijing on August 27.
“It’s been an amazing season. I had a lot of ups and downs, but besides that, it’s been an amazing season,” Miller said. “I changed coaches so late in the season, but to still come out with a silver medal at the World Championships is a big achievement.
“I have so much more in store for the other years, but we just have to get it together. I’m starting my first offseason with my new training group, so I’m excited about it. They already told me to prepare for the worst, so I’m real excited about it and we will see where it takes us for Rio 2016.”
Miller was referring to her training camp in Clermont, Florida with coaches Gary Evans and Lance Brauman of the Pure Athletics Club.
Unlike last year where she competed at the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Sopot, Poland, where she earned a bronze medal in the 400m, Miller said she doesn’t intend to compete in Eugene, Oregon at next year’s IAAF World Championships because she’s not big on running on the smaller 200m track with the lighter bends.
She might consider a return in 2018, but right now her focus is on winning a medal at the Olympics.
“I feel as if I have so much more to improve on,” said Miller as she looks ahead to Rio. “Even with all of the injuries I had this year, I still came out with the silver medal at worlds, but I still have a lot more in the tank and I’m just going to put it together over these next few years and hopefully shock the world with some crazy times.
“But you know, I’m just having fun with it right now and enjoying the process.”
She declined to elaborate or make any predictions on just how fast she feels she can run, but Miller said her change in coaching has definitely given her a renewed commitment to succeed and become the best quarter-miler in the world, just as she did at the junior level, winning the IAAF World Junior Championship title in Moncton, Canada in 2010 and the IAAF World Youth Championship crown in Lille, France in 2011.
“It’s amazing. My coaches know exactly what they’re doing. They’ve been in the sport for so long and my training partners have been doing an amazing job just inspiring each other every day,” she stated. “We push each other to the limit every day. To see it pay off is just an amazing feeling. I just love it down there. The environment is just amazing. I’m in a group with a lot of high class athletes, so it’s very inspiring for us.”
And with the response she has received so far from the Bahamian public, Miller said she’s even more dedicated to improving on her performance next year.
“The Bahamian people see a familiar face, so it’s great when they can welcome me home,” she said. “I love and appreciate them for that. They’ve been so good, especially this year when I needed their support going through all of my ups and downs. Their support has really helped.”
There’s no support like what she has received from her family and her father Shaun said they are just delighted that she is home so they can celebrate her accomplishment together with the Bahamian public.
“It’s a pleasure to have her home after this long season,” said Miller, who was her first coach. “Most of the times, although she’s not too far away, we can go over to see her a little more, but to have her come back home is a little rare, so it’s good to have her home.”
Both Shaun, who served as as assistant coach with responsibility for the women’s 4 x 400m relay, and mother Maybelene Miller, an official, were a part of the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations’ management team in Beijing where they got to watch their daughter excel.
And like his daughter, Shaun is eager to see what 2016 has to offer.
“I’m hoping that she can stay healthy for the entire season,” he said. “We will definitely be doing our part as far as keeping everything in order with her food and rest and everything else. But we know that her coaching staff will do their job just keeping her sound and properly prepared for the Olympics.”
As a coach, Miller said he’s always looking at an athlete’s progression and that is no different with his daughter.
We know that she’s going to be able to run pretty fast,” he said. “Most likely when the season starts, we know that she will run fast, but we don’t want her to peak too early. So we will be patient and just wait for the coaches to come around and to put some times up.
“By June, we expect that her times should start coming down. So we expect her to be very competitive next year. We just have to wait and see what is in store for her.”
Hopefully it will be another banner year in which she can come back home and celebrate with the Bahamian public once again.