Expect big things from Olympic track and field hopeful Shamier Little.
The Chicago native ran 53.51 seconds in the 400-meter hurdles at the NCAA tournament in early June, making her the world-leader in the event for the 2016 season.
Little won her third consecutive NCAA Championship on June 11. According to the Team USA website, this is the second consecutive time Little has held the world-leading time. In the 2015 NCAA tournament, Little ran the 400-meter hurdles in 53.74.
“The day of [the race] I visualize it … I’m just too nervous,” Little said in a recent interview with NBC. “I visualize every scenario [and] at the end of the day it’s all about bringing it home. I just visualize getting out and maintaining and being able to come home strong.“
Little's weekend record ranks her as the second all-time collegiate athlete in the event. Standford University’s Kori Carter holds the leading collegiate record of 53.21 set in 2013.
Little brought her talent to Beijing in the August 2015 International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Championships where she won silver in the 400-meter. In 2014, Little won gold at the U.S Junior Outdoor Championships also in the 400-meter.
Little said the World Championships are very different from the NCAA tournament.
“It’s like the NCAA, but it’s people who have won NCAA two, three years back and they’re all here for [the] World Championship,” Little said. “It’s amazing. It’s ten times better than the NCAA.”
Track and field final trials for the Rio Olympics are July 1-10.
“It’s all starting to hit me now. I’m like ‘Wow, this is happening!,’ said Little. “After looking over my season and then coming here (Rio), it’s like ‘Okay, they have hopes in me.’ Maybe I should have a lot of hope in me too.”