Off-The-Beaten Track Q and A With adidas Grand Prix Track and Field Stars

By adidas Grand Prix (Sponsored Post)
June 2, 2011

You read LetsRun, so you know that the adidas Grand Prix is coming up on June 11. But did you know that if Jenny Simpson could be an athlete in any other sport, it would be dressage? That Nate Brannen always thought he would grow up to become a professional hockey player? That a New Zealand rap song (a New Zealand rap song?) includes a line about Nick Willis?

Tyson Gay's last trip down the track
at Icahn yielded a 19.58 for 200m.
What can he do in the 100m this year?

We didn’t either, until we rounded up some of the athletes set to compete in New York and asked. Check it out.  You will, no doubt, remember some of these answers as you watch them at Icahn Stadium. 

Your house is on fire. What three things do you save as you run out?

Nick Willis: My dog, Tempo; my late mother’s photo album, my Olympic silver medal

Anna Pierce: My cookbook collection, keys to my new Mini Cooper, and my iPad.

Deedee Trotter: My dog, Cloe; my photo albums, my Olympic and World medals

Shana Cox: My chihauhau, Cocoa; my BlackBerry and my iPod

Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie: My purse; my dogs (all nine of them); my cell phone.

Nate Brannen: My wife; My English bulldog, Winston; my car keys

Phillips Idowu: My daughter, my son and my girlfriend. Otherwise, my iPad, iPhone and Sennheiser wireless headphones.

Lauryn Williams: My pet tortoise, Turbo; the bin that holds all my pictures, notes and journals from over the years.

Morgan Uceny: My glasses so I can see where I’m going, my cell phone so I can call the fire department and my dog, which I don’t have now but will one day.

Could Michael Jordan Jump Like This?

If you could be an athlete in any other sport, who would you choose?

Brie Felnagle: Misty May-Treanor.  Not only would I be one of the world’s best in my sport, but it would be my job to play on the beach all day.

Lauryn Williams: Chad Ochocinco.  He leads the most exciting life on the planet.

Nick Willis: Blake Griffin. To be able to dunk on anyone in the NBA, and help take over the Lakers as the best team in town.

Delloreen Ennis: Serena Williams. She is such a fierce competitor and I like the way she carries herself.

Phillips Idowu: Michael Jordan. He is one of the true global icons.

Morgan Uceny: Michael Jordan, so I know what it feels like to fly.

Deedee Trotter: Kevin Garnett. He’s the best, that’s why.

Hopefully an ambulance won't be needed for
Brie Felnagle's mom at the Grete Waitz 1500m.

What’s the strangest thing that ever happened to you in a competition?

Philips Idowu: A bee flew into one of my spikes and stung my foot when I put it on. I still jumped a personal best.

Jenny Simpson: I was warming up for an indoor meet and got hit full-speed by a sprinter coming out of the blocks. I was a serious hurtin’ unit for a week.

Bianca Knight: In my first international competition, when I was 15, I wasn’t aware that the commands would be in a different language.

Delloreen Ennis: At the 2006 Golden Gala in Rome, an opponent hurdled the hurdle in my lane instead of her own.

Brie Felnagle: Seeing my mother standing in the infield right at the finish line of the Penn Relays next to Bill Cosby as I finished my race. Turns out she’d fallen and fractured her elbow. She’d been brought to the infield for medical attention and the doctor was nice enough to let her watch my race. Although she eventually needed surgery to fix the elbow, I still say maybe she fell on purpose so she could get a front row seat.

Tyson Gay: Usain Bolt wanting to dance with me before the World Champs final in 2009.

Blake Griffin jumped a car at the NBA
All-Star game this year but could he do this?

When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Shana Cox: Theater dancer

Lauryn Williams: Anesthesiologist

Nick Willis: Meteorologist

Delloreen Ennis: Teacher

Phillips Idowu: Bank Manager

Jenny Simpson: Veterinarian

Bianca Knight: Nurse

Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie: Pediatrician

Deedee Trotter: First woman to play in the NBA

Tyson Gay: Artist or motorcycle rider

Nate Brannen: Professional hockey player

Anna Pierce: Figure skater

Morgan Uceny: A bagger at the grocery store. I like organizing, and the baggers were just so fast that I was always a bit in awe of them.

What Is Your Favorite Place in the World?

Nick Willis:  Lower Hutt, Lower Hutt (there is a rap song that repeats the name twice) and a line is “I’m gonna strike for gold like Lower Hutt’s Nick Willis.” My hometown in New Zealand, which I miss while living in the U.S.”  Editor's Note: To listen to the song go to   Song is called -  Lower Hutt

In its seventh year as one of the premier track-and-field events in the world, the adidas Grand Prix on Randall’s Island is the sixth stop on the international Samsung Diamond League circuit. Tickets are available at the event website,, or by calling 1-849-8722. All of the latest news, photos and additional information on the adidas Grand Prix can be found at and the event’s pages on Facebook and Twitter. Use the hashtag #agpnyc when referencing or searching for the event.

More 2011 adidas GP: Deep 5000m Field Will Be a "True" Test at 2011 adidas Grand Prix
*Blanka Vlašic Dancing Her Way To High-Jump History


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