For the past 18 or so months it has all been about preparing myself not only to qualify for Rio, but to personally excel in Rio. This summer I became a 2x Olympian and improved upon my 2012 Olympic finish, placing 22nd in a competitive field of 74 athletes. I gained valuable experiences along the way that have made me stronger than 2012, and even stronger than my record breaking 2014 year. I am confident that my physical peak has yet to have occurred. So where does that leave me now?
As elite level athletes we often find ourselves thinking in 4 year blocks of time to correlate with each Olympic cycle. In 2012 I was convinced after the Games I would retire and focus on graduate school. I quickly learned retiring was not in the cards. I not only loved race walking, I needed race walking. I needed that physical-mental balance in my life. As much as my mind needs to be stimulated mentally, my body does physically. This time around I know better than to even suggest retirement. Instead I’m taking the “one day at a time” with short term goals approach to training and racing. I would love to be in the game for another Olympiad, but I also need to start financially pulling my weight and saving not just for my future, but my future family as well. Therefore, I have decided to continue race walking as long as possible at the elite level, treasuring every experience and knowing that one day push might come to shove and I will have to move on from training and competing at the elite level. In the meanwhile I am continuing to adjunct as a Biology/Microbiology professor while searching for a full-time position. After all, life is a journey, not a destination! Cheers to all the new adventures that await!
2016 Olympic Mission
Here we are again less than 6 months out to the next Olympic Games, the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio. The passion burns just as bright, perhaps even more intense. And so my journey continues, this time to become a 2x Olympian. I am stronger, faster, and wiser this time around. I have new goals and new aspirations. It’s not just about making it this time, it’s about how well I can place against my international competitors. To achieve this I have decided to take my training and recovery to another level. I can finally say that training as an elite athlete is my number one priority as I have just recently completed my graduate studies earning my Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences from Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. I am eager to see how far I can go! Stay tuned because the best is yet to come!
It was the summer of 1996 the year I discovered the Olympic Games, and I was hooked to say the least. Those two weeks I watched more TV than I probably had the entire previous year. This is when the dream began…yes one day I wanted to make it to the Olympics. While soccer may have been my passion back then I found my athletic calling as a race walker in high school.
Since 1996 I’ve watched the 2000, 2004, and 2008 Olympics come and go. In 2004 I achieved the US Olympic Trials B Standard while still a senior in high school but competed at Junior World Championships that summer instead of the US Trials. By the next Olympic Trials in 2008 I had hit the A qualifying standard early on and despite injury competed in my first trials. It was a bitter sweet moment, the trials themselves were thrilling, the excitement in the air was palpable and it was an experience like no other. Meanwhile there was also a feeling of disappointment at the inability to compete to one’s fullest ability because I was injured. Although making the team in 2008 would have been a long shot even if I were healthy it was still frustrating. Nonetheless the dream lived on and the desire to make an Olympic Team grew even stronger.
The logo of the Trials was: Amazing Awaits! And that’s exactly how I came away from that race, amazing awaits, I had 4 years to turn an 8th place non-Olympic Standard performance into a first place victory complete with an Olympic Games Standard. Everyday brought me one step closer to achieving my dream. It’s what motivated me everyday to get up on frigid cold or sweltering hot mornings and get out there training, often alone, all in the pursuit of making the 2012 Olympic Team. My motto has always been, Dream, Believe, Become. I’ve had the Dream since 1996, I truly began to Believe in myself in 2010, and in 2012 I finally earned the honor and BecAme an Olympian!
- Birthday: June 23rd1986
- Family: Daughter of Sue and Rich Michta, sister to Ricky, Kristie, and Katie
- Relationship Status: July 3rd, 2014 married my high school sweetheart Joe Coffey
- Hometown: Nesconset, New York
- Current Location: Farmingville, NY
- High School: Sachem Class of 2004 (When we were one Huge school)
- College: LIU CW Post, Class of 2008, Valedictorian, 4.0 GPA
- B.S. Biology, Chemistry Minor
- Graduate School: Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai NY
- Ph.D. Biomedical Sciences, under Dr. Matthew Evans
- Thesis Studies: Defining the role Occludin in HCV entry
- Thesis Studies Simply: Understanding why the virus (HCV) needs a special protein (Occludin) to infect cells.
- Team: Walk USA
- Sponsor: Oiselle
- Coach: Tim Seaman
- Water boys: Joe Coffey and Pop (Dan Rizzo)
- Medical Support Staff:
- Stats: 2010-2016 US Indoor 3000m and; 2010-2014, 2016 Outdoor 20km RW Champ
- My birthday is the anniversary of Title IX and is also officially recognized as “Olympic Day”
- I have never attended my own graduation (missed high school graduation for Junior Nationals in 2004, missed college graduation for World Cup in 2008, missed Graduate School Graduation Ceremony for Pan Am Cup in 2015)
- I have raced on 4 continents and in 15 countries:
- North America-USA, Canada, Mexico, El Salvador, Dominican Republic
- South America- Peru, Brazil, Chile
- Europe-Germany, Italy, England, Russia
- Asia-South Korea, China, Japan
- My favorite color is bright blue
- My favorite ice cream is mint chip