Olympian: Support group important

As a former Tucumcari resident urges local youth to pursue their dreams, as she prepares for the 2012 Olympics in London.

Amber Campbell 31, will be training in Myrtle Beach, S.C., until Aug. 3 when she plans to depart for London to compete in the women's hammer throw event. The qualifier is Aug. 8, with finals Aug. 10.

"I feel better-prepared," Campbell said. "My expectations are different, this time I'm not just happy to have made the team and go to the Olympics."

Campbell said she wants to strive more than beating her personal best (a throw of 236 feet), she's ready to fight for a medal. She said she has matured in the sport and can now handle a heavier work load.

Campbell said it's time to put it all together, and see what the culmination of all the years of hard training shall bring. She said ultimately the end goal is get the medal (gold).

Campbell said she lived in Tucumcari from 1983 to 1995, and in that time she developed her love for sports. She said she hopes her story can encourage others from Tucumcari and small towns across the nation to pursue their goal and dreams.

Amber was not afraid to work hard and always gave it everything she had, said Gary Hittson, Rattlers Cross Country/girls head basketball coach.

Hittson said he coached Campbell for summer basketball league when she was in middle school. He said she was the type of athlete coaches were eager to see what they could do as they developed over the years.

Hittson said she is an ideal role model for local youth — a perfect example of a small town kid who worked hard to achieve their goals.

Campbell said the important thing to remember is not to get disappointed, there will be ups and downs and stumbling blocks along the way. She said young athletes should keep their mind on what they are trying to attain.

"Being from a small town doesn't mean you can not achieve what you're trying to attain," Campbell said.

Campbell said along with training she is still raising money in order for her coach and family to accompany her to London. She said having a strong support group makes a world of difference.

"You ask any Olympic competitor," Campbell said. "One of the main contributing factors to how well they did is their support group."

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