Tori Bowie was the only American in the final of the women’s 100 meters last August at the 2015 IAAF World Championships in Beijing. However, being in the final was hardly the US champion’s goal. She had podium dreams in mind.
At the end of the race, Bowie had run 10.86 seconds to finish third behind Jamaica’s Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (10.76) and The Netherlands’ Dafne Schippers (10.81), earning her first international medal.
Again, she has grander goals in mind after running faster in each successive round in Beijing.
“I’m pretty impressed,’’ Bowie said of her World Championships bronze medal. “I know there’s better to come in the future. Right now I’m focused on being the fastest woman in the world. I feel like I’m in good position to take gold at the Olympics.’’
On the road to the Rio Olympics, the 25-year- old Bowie hopes to hone her speed even more at the IAAF World Indoor Championships Portland 2016.
At 5-foot-9, it takes Bowie a little time to attain maximum speed, time that the 60 meters just doesn’t afford sprinters. The event is all about starting fast and finishing fast and it’s no guarantee that Bowie will be at the World Indoors because she has to qualify by finishing among the top two at the USATF Indoor Championships the week before.
“So far, training’s going really well,’’ Bowie said. “My focus is to get there (for the Indoor Worlds). I would love to take the win. If I don’t, it’s on to the next meet.’’
Under coach Lance Brauman, Bowie started out 2016 training over 200 and 300 meters but the impending IAAF World Indoor Championships meant a shift in training to shorter distances with a keen emphasis on her start. The addition of a strength and conditioning coach has Bowie enthused.
“I’m excited,’’ she said. “We’ve seen a lot of improvement. Lance brought someone in to make sure we’re doing things correct. It’s made a huge difference. It’s the fastest I’ve ever been in my life.’’
Bowie said she considers training for indoors “a break’’ and noted, “I’ve been going hard since November.’’
Hard, and well. Since niching her college career at the University of Southern Mississippi in 2012, Bowie has been in ascendance in the sprints. At Southern Miss she was the NCAA indoor and outdoor champion in the long jump in 2011, and improved her indoor best to 22-9 3⁄4 (6.95m) in 2014. That event is on hold, at least for the time being.
“I have no idea,’’ she said of her future in the long jump. “My coach doesn’t even mention it. I’ll be happy to pick it up next year. Next year is a World Championship year. It’d be fun to pick it up.’’
Through February, Bowie’s only indoor competition was at the New Balance Invitational in Boston, where she finished third at 60 meters in 7.21, behind fellow Americans English Gardner (7.15) and Tianna Bartoletta (7.20).
Perhaps Bowie will follow Bartoletta’s example and eventually combine the sprints and the long jump and excel in both. For now, though, there’s no sand in her immediate future.