Maryline Roux’s Olympic dream: sprinting for Ivory Coast
A couple weeks ago, a reporter for the Charlotte Observer called me to learn more about masters track. Tonya Jameson, the reporter, was doing a story on Maryline Roux, a national-class W40 sprinter with a startling goal: competing in the 2012 London Olympics for her birth country, the Ivory Coast. Wow! I later learned more about Maryline in a first-rate interview by Carmel Papworth-Barnum. So I wrote her and asked some more questions about her Olympic quest — which she fully realizes is a long shot. Maryline — who says her name is pronounced “Ma (like the sound ah-ah), Ry (French guttural R .. Re), Ly (Le), Ne (Neu)” — is a great sport. Even if she doesn’t make it to London, she still possesses a heart of gold. Better than any medal.
Here’s my quickie Q&A with Maryline:
Masterstrack.com: Have you been in touch with FÃ©dÃ©ration Ivoirienne d’AthlÃ©tisme on how to qualify for London 2012?
Maryline Roux: I talked to the coach at the beginning of the year. My friend and contact in Ivory Coast, Akre Djeke, gave him my articles about my ordeal in Africa five years ago. I tried to contact him recently via e-mail but had the wrong e-mail address. So, Tonya could not interview him. I’m planning to go on a mission trip to Ivory Coast next spring and would like to meet with him and the sprinters.
What do you have to do to qualify? Would Ivory Coast expect you to pay your own way there?
I am not sure. For now, I have the dream, the drive and the will to work hard. I have two and one half years to get where I need to go. I have an amazing new coach, Michael Waller. We have a lot of work ahead of us. It’s going to be challenging, but I’m ready for it! I hope that the publicity I’ve been getting lately will help me to get a sponsor. I doubt the Ivory Coast federation would pay for anything right now. I’m sure they are limited.
Since the IAAF “B” standards for Berlin were 11.4 and 23.3 for women, I presume you’d represent Ivory Coast as a single sprinter. Are you confident that you’d be the best Ivory Coast sprinter that year?
I would represent whatever they would be willing to let me represent. Maybe I’ll just hold the flag (ha-ha) Even just being in a relay would be fantastic!
What’s your date of birth? I presume you’d be 45 at the time of London 2012.
11/06/1966. Yes, I will be 45 years old.
What are your-all time track PBs? When did you achieve these?
100m = 12.98 at a local meet in Charlotte this summer
200m = 27.’7 last year. . .
400m = 62.4 relay in Finland
I’m a long way away from the IAAF B standards for Berlin; nevertheless I’m still convinced that I should try. (“Hope is passion for what is possible” Soren Kierkegaard)
What is your support team in Charlotte — family, friends, coaches, Athena teammates?
I have two coaches Michael Waller (track) and Jeff Heal (strength training and nutrition) at Fitnesstogether, a chiropractor, Dr. John Cipriani at LKN Pain Relief and Wellness Center, and a massage therapist Judith Biery at Davidson Therapeutic Massage (plus) family and friends.
When did you first think about running for Ivory Coast in the Olympics?
It was a combination of things. I trained and competed with Achilles’ tendonitis on both feet during my first year of track and field. For some reason, despite the acute pain I could feel during some training sessions and when competing, something deep inside of me was telling me to not give up.
As I grew in the sport and improved, this little cazy dream of mine started to germinate in my head. My African mother, who I never met, made a beautiful sacrifice by letting me go to France for a better life and a better education. Today I want to work hard, run in her memory, and represent the Ivory Coast. This would be my gift to her.
This is very personal. I don’t want to feel pressured. It is between my biological mother and me. If I don’t succeed, she will be proud that I have tried.
(“If we are to live our lives fully and well, we must learn to embrace the opposites, to live in a creative tension between our limits and our potentials. We must honor our limitations in ways that do not distort our nature, and we must trust and use our gifts in ways that fulfill the potentials GOD gave us.” Parker J.Palmer)
Do you still have family in Ivory Coast, and are they helping you with logistics?
I do have many half brothers and sisters, uncles and aunts in Ivory Coast. They live in a poor village, though. They need my help! (Through my church in North Carolina, I’m in charge of the Ivory Cost mission project, helping the villagers of my mother’s village.) They will certainly help with prayers and good energy
Plans for season 2010 and 2011?
I have not yet discussed those plans with my coach. We’ll figure it out when he returns from the World Masters Games in Sydney.