Our Very Own Olympic Athlete–Omar McBride
This week I was able to speak with one of Apex High School’s most well-known athletes, Omar McBride. With a history of performing exceptionally well in outdoor track, he was given the opportunity to participate in the Junior Olympics these past two weeks in Buenos Aires. I sat down with him to get all the details on his experience.
When and how did you find out you were going to be participating in the Junior Olympics?
I remember waking up from a nap after doing my homework. I walked downstairs, and my mom was opening my gear kit, and she was like “Oh yeah, you’re on Team USA.”
How did you feel?
How did I feel? I was excited, but I had also just woken up so… you know.
So you found out at the end of the last school year? Or the beginning of this one?
I found out this school year.
So you found out this school year, when did they fly you guys out to Buenos Aires?
Oct. 5. I was there from Oct. 5 to Oct. 19.
How many people were there on team USA?
There were seven for track. I don’t know for the entire team.
So did they house all the track people together? I assume you guys stayed in a hotel?
No, we were in these college dorm things, and they were super tight. There was myself and the other two track boys in a room, and across the hall there was another room filled with a gymnast, a golfer, a rower, and a kayaker. The floor down and across the building were the girls’ rooms.
Other than the people in your room, did you get to talk to any other athletes?
I was the more social one on the team, so all the track people stuck together. I was the one who was constantly lost in all the other parts of the village. I talked to the other US kids, a Belgian kid, and someone from South Africa the entire time I was there.
Other than competing, were you all able to go around the city at all? Or did they keep you all in the dorms because they didn’t want you to get lost?
We went out to eat a couple times; apparently we were in the dangerous part of Buenos Aires, so we didn’t do much. We didn’t do much other than going to different venues to watch other people compete and to eat.
When you went to events were there a ton of people there, or was it mainly parents and coaches?
There were so many people there! I remember gymnastics was right next to the track, and gymnastics and swimming had lines all around the block–it was just rows and rows of people. At track it was so full we had to put people in grass sections, and we used a clicker to count how many people came out and how many people came in.
What qualified you for the Junior Olympics?
There wasn’t anything specific that qualified me for the Olympics, but I was the best jumper in the Americas–I was the best high jumper. On top of that they went through these things to pick athletes. The first two hundred athletes were narrowed down to twelve, which was then narrowed down to seven, and I was lucky enough to get picked.
What was the coach like?
He was quiet but extremely nice to everyone. He was serious most of the time, but he was well qualified in the subject.
So the day of the meet, how did that go?
So at first I was nervous, but then I started jumping and it was just like “Well, I don’t even understand why I am nervous.” There wasn’t really anything to be nervous about; that’s not really what I do. All I needed to do was jump, and with running it’s really nerve racking because the only person you’re competing against is yourself. At that point I either needed to jump what I normally jump or a PR (personal record). I jumped an average jump, but other people jumped higher, so I can’t be mad about that.
You said you did an average jump, were you happy with that?
Was I happy? No, I was actually kind of sad, but I got to watch a really good competition, make some new friends–some who don’t even speak English! We added each other on Snapchat, and we can’t really talk but we send each other pictures so that’s really cool. Being able to talk to Belgians, South Africans, and Bohemians was really cool. It was a good experience overall.
What qualities make you different from other athletes?
Other athletes get super serious; I don’t know why, but I can’t. On the livestream there was a portion of it where I was just dancing, and the announcers were over there like “What is he doing?” And I’m just dancing the entire time, having fun, talking, enjoying life. I guess it’s just because my event takes up a long time, there is no point in being serious the entire time. I just can’t do it.
We are so proud to have one of our own representing America in the Junior Olympics. Congratulations on finishing top twelve in the world!