COLLEGE STATION, TX — After a long five years since the last summer Olympic games, the opening ceremonies are set to take place Friday in Tokyo, Japan. Among the 600 athletes competing for Team USA, are some of our favorite former Aggies.
Former Aggie, Annie Kunz, punched her ticket to Tokyo with an incredible performance in the heptathlon at the Olympic trials, ending the two-day competition with an all-time personal best and a world-leading score of 6,703 points.
“When I saw my name at first and then 6,703 [points] I was like what! I was like completely overtaken by emotion and all of the like years of struggles; all the emotion just hit me at once. Because it all made it worth it and it was just something I'll never forget," Kunz shared with KRHD 25 News.
Kunz was a dual athlete for the Aggies, a forward on the historic final four Lady Aggie soccer team, as well as a member of the track & field team.
“Annie is a great success story for our program and especially for Annie. For her to stay in the sport as she’s been able to do, she is in our Olympic training facility in San Diego and for the marked improvement she has made took years. But she stayed with it and she is the United States Champion, you can’t ever take that away from Annie," said Texas A&M Track & Field Head Coach Pat Henry.
For the last five years, Kunz has dedicated all of her time and energy into perfecting one of the hardest track and field events and not only make the Olympic team, but win the Olympic trials.
“She just needed more time and the kind of proves out. She was a young athlete and a lot of young athletes four years isn’t enough time and she’s been able to keep going in the sport and she’s benefited as a result,” said Henry.
“I always felt like I was kind of playing catch up, and I was really hitting my stride, right before shutdowns. I was coming off the 2019 season where I made it to World Championships. And then I won indoor nationals, like in February and then we got shut down in like March. So, I had a lot of momentum that I didn't want to lose when COVID happened," said Kunz.
And as a part of keeping her momentum was the manifestation. For months, Kunz wrote this list of goals down every day in her journal:
"It is like me to score 6500+ point."
"It is like me to run 13.0 seconds in the hurdles."
"It is like me to jump 1.85m in the high jump."
"It is like me to run 23.9 in the 200m."
"It is like me to jump 6.50m in the long jump."
"It is like me to throw 45 meters in the Javelin."
"It is like me to run 2:16 in the 800m."
"It is like me to throw 16m in the shotput."
"IT IS LIKE ME TO EXECUTE TO THE BEST OF MY ABILITIES."
"IT IS LIKE ME TO WIN THE OLYMPIC TRIALS."
And last month she lived out those manifestations, exceeding most of them.
“I remember I even sat with my coach in September; it was really sweet because I like hugged him after the meet and he was like, I remember you sat in my office in September, you told me, 'I want to win the Olympic trials.' And he even was like, it's going to be really hard and it's going to be like a lot of hard work. But I think you can do it and here's how we get there,” said Kunz.
Now that she is an Olympian, Kunz is focused on executing just like she did at trials.
“I think there's pressure if you allow there to be pressure on you, for me, it's more just an exciting motivator, where I'm like, 'Okay, I can do this, I don't have to do anything different.' I can go in and I just execute the way I did at trials, I'm going to score big," said Kunz.
Due to the rules of this year's summer games, athletes are only allowed to come a week before they compete due to rising COVID-19 infections in Japan. Kunz will be competing in the heptathlon on August 4th and 5th in Tokyo.
There is a total of 25 Aggies on the Olympics schedule, representing over a dozen nations. Kunz and nine other former Texas A&M track and field athletes will be competing in the coming days in Tokyo, Coach Henry giving his former athlete one final word of advice.
“Use everything that you’ve learned all these years try to put that effort together at one time. That’s the challenge, if you can do that you’re going to be successful," said Henry.
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