HARRIMAN, Tenn. (WATE) – Sharrieffa Barksdale competed in the 1984 Summer Olympic games in Los Angeles, reaching the semi-finals of the Women’s 400-meter hurdles. Now working as an Alumni Relations Manager for USA Track and Field, she brought their program, “Run, Jump and Throw” to Harriman Friday to help inspire the next generation of athletes.
Third through fifth graders at Bowers Elementary School participated in the program, marking the first ever event of its kind to come through the Harriman community.
“What’s great about it is that we are having this because we are wanting to restore my track,” said Barksdale. “We are really wanting to bring it back to life.”
The track is located across the street form Harriman High School and was named after her following the 1984 Olympics.
Ralph ‘Hawkeye’ Boston who competed and won Gold in the 1960, Silver in the 1964 and Bronze in the 1968 Olympics first met Barksdale when she was on the basketball court. Based on what he saw that day, he knew she had the makings to be special.
“Remembering how she got started,’ Boston said. “How I first saw her on the basketball court and thought she had something for track and field. Obviously I was right.”
The kids that were in attendance got to learn from some of the best athletes in various different aspects of track and field.
“It’s just very exciting to be here with the kids,” 2008 Gold Medalist Mary Wineberg said. “Really just introducing the kids to track and field and getting the experience of meeting Olympians, meeting world class athletes and from what I’ve seen so far, they’ve been very excited to meet us.”
The kids thanked the Olympians for the lessons and for how they represented their country by starting a “USA” chant at the end of the event.
If you would like to donate to help renovate the Sharrieffa Barksdale Track, donations can be made through Zelle to @MarthaWilkerson. All funds will be used to help bring the track back to life.