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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Moline runs through adversity for UA, Olympics

Chuck Myers
Georganne Moline of the USA clears a hurdle during the third semifinal for the women's 400m hurdles at Olympic Stadium, during the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London, England, Monday, August 6, 2012. Moline finished second in the semi, and qualified for the final. (Chuck Myers/MCT)

Arizona senior track and field athlete Georganne Moline has been through the wringer, but if becoming an Olympian means anything, she’s turned out just fine.

Moline made the U.S. Olympic team, competing in the women’s 400-meter hurdle, but making it there required Moline to overcome her fair share of adversity.

Moline was born in Plains, Mont. When she was 4 years old her parents divorced, and Moline and her mother drove with a family friend and her daughter to Phoenix in search of a fresh start. With no place to call home, the four lived out of a van for six months.

“At the time I wasn’t aware of the struggle my mom was going through, but she’s my rock and my everything,” Moline said. “She would take me to parks, McDonald’s playhouses, anything that was free and that made me happy.”

Even though Moline’s living situation was at times far from stable, her mother made sure she never used that as a crutch in her athletic career.

“When I was young I don’t remember exactly what my dreams were,” Moline said. “All I remember is my mom telling me ‘When you go to college’ or ‘When you become this’ or ‘Become the greatest at this’ that’s all I remember, is my mom engraving positive feelings in me.”

Even with continuous encouragement from her mother to participate in youth sports — anything from tee ball to basketball — Moline wasn’t sure what path she was going to take.

“I didn’t start track ‘til the ninth grade,” Moline said. “And I really just tried it to try it.”

She said she had no expectations at first, but it didn’t take her long to start taking track seriously.

“My freshman year I made state in track,” Moline said. “Once that happened I really started focusing. And my mom used to always tell me, ‘Georganne, if you’re going to start something you’ve got to finish it.’ So I tried it again my sophomore year and I was hooked.”

Moline wasn’t heavily recruited by any top colleges, even though she won multiple Arizona high school state championships. That is, until UA track and field head coach Fred Harvey starting showing some interest.

“She didn’t have a big background in track,” Harvey said. “But she had impressive times for someone who lacked the background. And she had a good track body, so I saw it as an incredible opportunity. I knew she could be a world class runner.”

Moline may have accomplished more than what was expected of her simply by making the team, but once she arrived at the UA she found more adversity.

“Right before my first meet freshman year I got a stress fracture,” Moline said. “Then junior year I sprained a disc in my back and most recently I pulled my PCL. It’s just been a rough road.”

Last season Moline also fell at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. Though it may look as if she has bad luck, Moline said she doesn’t believe so.

“I don’t think it’s as much luck as just being mentally strong,” said Moline. ”After I fell I think a lot of people would use that to tear them down or use it as an excuse, but I used it as motivation.”

Even though she faced an uphill battle in joining the U.S. Olympic team in London, Moline qualified and ended up placing fifth overall in the 400-meter hurdles race.

“Georganne is a really strong girl,” said fellow Olympian and Arizona high jumper Brigetta Barrett. “She’s a real positive person and I’m glad we were roommates in London.”

Moline said her goal is to return for the 2016 Olympics in pursuit of a gold medal, despite her past hardships.

“Through all of this I’ve learned to be who I am and be humble,” Moline said. “Never let myself think I can’t do it, because if I don’t believe in me then who will?”

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