Haworth excited as Olympics draw near
SAVANNAH, GA. (WTOC) – The routine of going to the Olympics will never become routine for Cheryl Haworth.
The familiar thrill has not grown old for the Savannah weightlifter, now 25 and preparing for her third trip to the Games.
“I’m extremely excited about going to Beijing,” she said. “I really get an opportunity to do something tremendous at his competition.”
There’s a shot at a second Olympic medal, of course, and an opportunity for a second come back to the highest level of her sport.
Then there’s this new role of Olympic veteran to a U.S. Women’s team that includes three first-timers and her.
“One of my friends wanted to watch the video from the Olympic Trials and I realized I’m the only one who has all of those experiences,” said Haworth, who earned a bronze medal in 2000 and placed sixth in 2004. “I’m really excited for them most of all. They don’t have any idea of what they’re about to witness.”
But this time, Haworth is most looking forward to not being one of the most talked about athletes at the Games, to avoiding the media spectacle that surrounded her in Sydney and the medal expectations that awaited her four years later.
“Sydney was, really, I don’t want to say strange, it’s just the sequence of events leading into the games, everything happened so quickly that my head was sort of spinning afterward,” said Haworth, whose time was in high demand at the 2000 Games, appearing on the Today Show and conducting in almost daily interviews. “It was a lot of fun. I’m not going to say it wasn’t fun. But sometimes you forget, you get really stressed out and you forget why you’re there. It’s ultimately just to have fun and compete and love it.”
But it’s her experience in 2004 that provides her motivation for Beijing.
Fourteen months removed from elbow surgery, Haworth suffered another injury on her first attempt in Athens. That not only kept her from medaling again, but has had her off in the international radar since then.
“I was really unsatisfied with my performance in 2004,” she said. “I have an opportunity now to be healthy and go in there as a darkhorse, nobody really know what I’m doing now. And that’s good. I like this position. I think I like not having very much expected of me and just going in there and rattling some cages. I think some folks in particular have gotten really comfortable with their position in the world.”
Now, as relaxed as she has been heading into the Olympics, it’s Haworth’s goal to remove her competition’s comfort level while also enjoying her own.
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