I would first and foremost question the judgement of her parents in allowing her to go pro at such a young age. Talent and fast times are not the only aspects of being a professional (in any field). The question in my view, is not one of knowledge of the sport, but an understanding of what it takes to be a professional. A professional is objective, realistic, mature and has a storehouse of lessons that he or she can draw upon based on experience. A 17yr old growing up under normal comfortable circumstances cannot be elevated to the status of a professional. No 17yr old should be allowed to go Pro. Period. Her father is a physician and he should know better on how long and hard he had to work, the lessons he had to learn and the curve-balls he had to dodge in life, to become a medical professional.
As for the coach shouldering the blame. Yes, that is part of the equation. I am not sure who approached who, but it would be hard to turn away a talented runner. I suppose it is a combination of ambitions and good intentions of everybody run amok. A young lady who wants to be the best, her parents who want her to be happy, the public/media who hyped up a kid as the next best thing since sliced bread and a coach who wanted to coach a champion. In all of this, it seems like the true Mary Cain got lost, both to us and herself.
Personally, I wish her the best and hope she has a good life.[/quote]
Good post. I can't help but think that Cain, as well as other HS phenoms whom she was a lot faster than, were somewhat ironically unfortunate that huge success was dumped on them at an early age. Not that anyone would agree with that at the time--anyone who saw Mary Cain in 2013 knew that she was living the dream of any high school runner. You could see it in the way she ran, the shocked/delighted way she reacted to her astounding performances (that 1:59 at Pre comes to mind), her interviews, which while arguably annoying, also revealed genuine excitement and youth. It was great then, but her physical abilities were developing at a rate that her psychological and emotional maturity was not. Most high schoolers/collegiates get the chance to develop all 3 at roughly the same rate--while they weren't running anywhere in the ballpark of Cain, they still had those races where it didn't go right, where they were forced to learn from it, understood their strengths and weaknesses, and that they were nowhere near the best of the best, but if you work hard you can improve, have success and have fun with it. This kind of realism, big-picture outlook and emotional maturity are the mental tools, developed in high school and college, safely away from the spotlight, that a professional athlete NEEDS TO HAVE regardless of physical talent.
Not saying Cain will never have these tools, just that she's roughly the same level psychologically as others her age, only competing against women who are vastly above her in this area.
And spot on regarding the coaches, parents etc. Everyone with the right intentions, and it's hard when a once-in-a-billion talent shows up ready to get better, to turn her down and hold her back. Hindsight is 20/20 after all.
Wish Cain the best. If she can find her way out of her rut, that would show tremendous mental poise and toughness.