Shamier Little in the 400m hurdles at the IAAF World Championships, Beijing 2015 (© Getty Images)
Just 20 years old, Shamier Little has already banked world junior, NCAA and US 400m hurdles titles. The US athlete also won a silver medal at the IAAF World Championships in Beijing and here she takes time out of her busy life to answer our personal bests questions.
My best achievement in athletics
I may have won a silver medal at the World Championships, but I would say becoming world leader this season (she first achieved the feat with a 54.68 run in May and then did so again by running 53.74 to secure the NCAA title in Eugene). To become a world leader at such a young age is big. That is when everybody starts to turn their attention on you. To have that world-leading mark, which appears in the corner of every women’s 400m hurdles race screened on TV, is major.
My greatest rival
I would say I have two. One would be the Jamaican hurdler Janeive Russell. She won gold at the 2012 World Juniors in Barcelona, which was a final I failed to finish. From that point on I’ve always kept a close eye on her and managed to beat her in the 2015 World Championship final, where she finished fifth.
The other would be Keni Harrison (the NCAA 100m hurdles champion and 400m hurdles silver medallist who also reached the semi-finals in the 100m hurdles at the 2015 World Championships). We haven’t raced very often but because she has such a great reputation and is such a good hurdler, I always have butterflies when I compete against her. I know because of her quality we are really going to push each other.
My best friend in athletics
Latario Collie-Minns, the Bahamian triple jumper (the 2011 world youth champion and 2012 world junior bronze medallist). He and his twin, Lathone, are like brothers to me. He is a year older than me and started at Texas A&M the year before I did. We are both quiet, but secretly very goofy. They taught me so much. We have got really close over the past few years.
The best track venue
The Barcelona Olympic Stadium, where I competed at the 2012 World Junior Championships. It is a blue track and I like blue tracks. Competing there was really a turning point for me. It was first time away from the US and I remember everything about the meet including even my bib number. The beach was nice. It was so different to life in the US.
My best achievement outside of athletics
It would be attending Texas A&M and getting an education. I major in agriculture leadership and that is big for me. The course teaches me how to be a leader, which is important because I’m quiet and more a go-with-the-flow type of person.
My greatest disappointment
I was ranked No.2 in the country as a sixth grader for the 200m hurdles going into the National (age-group) Championships, but I got a hip flexor injury beforehand. I ran the first round, but it was terrible and I had to stop. I was devastated at the time because I had been really excited by the event.
My greatest indulgence
Cookies. I could eat six cookies a day! I have cut back from that, but it is a major thing for me – eating and baking cookies. Chocolate chip cookies are my favourite. I could easily get a big tub and eat six cookies.
My greatest race
I think it would be in Eugene when I won the NCAAs earlier this year in a world-leading time of 53.74. I became a world leader and since that point it has meant all eyes have been on me.
Steve Landells for the IAAF