BY PATRICK MCCORMACK
HICKSVILLE — Every runner at the high school and college level has the dream of running in the Olympics. During the XXX Summer Games in London, England, this dream became a reality for Shana Cox, a 2003 graduate of Holy Trinity Diocesan High School.
The American-born Cox represented Great Britain, where she has dual citizenship as her parents were both born in Britain.
“Racing on the world’s biggest stage was amazing. There were over 80,000 people in the stadium, and if you’re British they literally erupt into a roar as soon as you emerge from the holding room under the stadium onto the track,” Cox said. “Racing for the host country is incredible. They really went above and beyond to make sure this was a memorable experience. There is no comparison to any other track meet I’ve been to, and I enjoyed it immensely. It was like a dream.”
For host Britain, Cox competed in the 400m and 4x400 relay. She ran the 400m quarterfinal in a 52.01 seconds, which was good enough for third in the heat and a spot in the semi-finals. She ran the semis in 52.58 seconds, which led her to be seventh in her heat, but unfortunately wasn’t fast enough for a spot in the finals.
In the 4x400, Cox and Great Britain ran a 3:25.04 in the semi-finals, the third best time of the trials, which led to a berth in the finals. The team ran a 3:24.76 in the finals, which placed them fifth overall.
“It felt pretty good to advance through the rounds,” she said. “The crowd was really rooting for us, and the moment the automatic qualifiers go up on the score board everyone starts to cheer and you feel really proud that you did something for your country.”
For Cox, who holds the American 500m record and has raced in various international competitions, the Olympics stand in a class of their own. “The Olympics are different to other competitions because of the formality and prestige,” she said. “Another thing that’s key to remember during the Games is that anything can happen. It’s a really magical experience. There are bound to be surprises and shockers. That’s half the fun of it.”
Prior to the Olympics, Cox addressed a crowd of 400 Holy Trinity athletes and their parents at the school’s Spring Athletic Awards dinner last June. She spoke of the importance of perseverance, hard work, and lessons learned. She explained that her path to the Olympics was marked by injury and recuperation, but hard work and trusting in God helped her reach her status as an Olympic athlete. She also credited her parents and the support and education she received at Holy Trinity.
Cox will continue competing against the world’s top runners in international competitions, something she looks forward to. “The expectancy and the stress of the game have passed and we are just racing to have fun now,” she said.
PATRICK MCCORMACK is a 2012 graduate of Holy Trinity Diocesan High School, Hicksville.