Shyheim Wright – Pittsburgh Track and Field

“Track has been everything to me in terms of how I carry myself as a man and how I look at things now. Track is different than other sports, with the fact that, when you’re out there, you are by yourself. Your performance is based on how you’ve prepared before the race and how you are going to take that preparation and execute on race day. I feel like that has taught me in life that whatever you do, you have to prepare and execute no matter what it is because at the end of the day, it reflects you and no one else.”

“I’d say the biggest obstacle I’ve had to overcome is the fact that I tore my quad my senior year of high school before coming to college and it was so hard going back to square one in terms of confidence and physically losing some of what I had in high school. With the transition of college it put a toll on me mentally driving to a deep depression with questions about why I continued to run track and if I really mattered in this world. I was put in therapy a couple times a week to give me someone to talk my issues out with and it really helped and now I’ve gotten to the point where I don’t even talk to my therapist anymore because of how much my mental health has improved.”

“My injury left a big lump in my leg which you can still see till this day. I look at it and it’s just a testament to how hard I’ve worked to be able to still run fast and effectively.”

“Based on the experiences I’ve had, I’d definitely tell my younger self to not be afraid of change. It’s easy to stay in the situation you’re in because you’re familiar with it and you get comfortable. Now, as a man I’d tell my younger self, you have to work on getting comfortable being uncomfortable.”

“I feel like being a Black man and an athlete was always my shield to society meaning that I wasn’t looked at as a regular person. I was viewed in a different light and with being an athlete, but on the other hand, I am treated differently since I grew up in a nice suburban area. People will look at me and say that I’ve had things handed to me just because my parents gave me a good foundation, but in reality I’ve outworked most people to get where I am today and I couldn’t have done without my parents instilling those hard working values in me.”

“My hope is that we as Black athletes can be looked at as more than someone who can run fast or jump high but we are looked at as people who also have a voice beyond our sport. Our sport doesn’t define us, it just makes us unique but we are humans before we are athletes.”

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