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Lashinda Demus – USA, 400 meter hurdles – College of the Canyons asst. track coach

At the age of two, Lashinda Demus's mother introduced her to the track, not realizing that her admiration for running would eventually lead her to a No. 1 world ranking in the 400 meter hurdles. In 2001, Demus set the national high school record in the girls' 300 hurdles, and then went on as a freshman to help South Carolina win its only NCAA track and field championship. In 2005, she earned the first of two national titles in the 400 meter hurdles. She’s currently an assistant track and field coach at the College of the Canyons in Santa Clarita.

Now she’s in the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London representing Team USA and won a silver medal in the 400 hurdles.

Despite her success on the track, Demus will be the first one to tell you there is no substitute for hard work. In the latter part of 2006, the world's top ranked hurdler revved up for the family life. After marriage and pregnancy, Demus gained more than 50 pounds. Demus delivered twin boys in June 2007 and was back in training just weeks later and soon recaptured her No. 1 status.

Her return wasn't an easy transition, and there were many setbacks including finding a balance between her physical, emotional and spiritual self. For the better part of a year, Demus struggled with post partum depression. At the peak of her career, she was forced to filter through the feelings of being trapped and alone while juggling a career, husband and babies. True to form, she overcame these obstacles to find the balance required to maintain optimum health, her position as a hands-on mother and wife, as well as an elite athlete at the top of her career.

Only six weeks after birth, Demus's mother, Yolanda, a former NCAA champion, became her coach and helped bridge the gap with drills that included cardiovascular activity, strength training and adherence. Months later, Lashinda was working out at an elite level just in time to compete at the 2008 Olympic trials. She led for most of the race but slowly faded to fourth missing the Olympic 400 meter hurdle team by .14 seconds. The loss only increased her drive to succeed.

In the 2009 season, Demus lit up Europe running World leading times in four out of seven races. She set World best times in Monaco, London and Crete, Greece. Demus posted the then fourth-fastest time ever when she blistered the track with a personal best of 52.63 and beat the 2008 Olympic champion. A month later Demus went under 53 seconds after a flawed race in the 2009 World Championships in Berlin, running a time of 52.96 for the silver medal (also 11th fastest time in history) and securing gold in the 1,600 meter relay.

During the 2010 season, Demus competed in the Diamond League, which is comprised of 14 meets spread across Asia, Europe, the Middle East and the United States. Demus finished with the Diamond League Champion title and a No. 1 world ranking.

At the 2011 World Championships in Athletics in Daegu, South Korea Demus won the gold medal in 52.47, a new American record and the third fastest time in history. She beat reigning Olympic champion and defending World champion Melaine Walker, who finished second.

Now, Demus is preparing to bring home the gold in the 2012 Olympics. With nothing but love for her sport and a heart to help, she can be found giving back the community through various organizations as well as volunteering at many marathons in her region. If asked about her motivators, she will simply respond, "I get up every morning and take my body to max capacity,” Demus said. “I want to be the best … a world record holder and gold medalist. I've been working so hard. I wouldn't let a little more hard work stop me!"


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