North Texas shot put star Michelle Carter has her eye on next year's Tokyo Olympics. It would be her fourth Olympic Games. Carter won the gold medal in Rio in 2016. She also competed in London in 2012 and Beijing in 2008.
Carter intends to defend her title, but this year's mission is also about achieving her personal best. "I never wanted to just set my goal at a medal. Because even though I got the medal and that's the highest you can go, but what if I can do more than that?" Carter said.
It won't be easy. Carter had knee surgery in 2017. She will also be 34-years-old next summer. "They make jokes. I'm like the mama of the team," she said with a smile. Recovery is now a critical part of Carter's training regimen.
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As always, Carter's coach is her father, Michael. He knows the best throwers in the world are now aiming for his daughter. "Once you become Olympic champion, the bullseye is on your back. Everyone want to beat the Olympic champion," he said.
Carter travels the road to Tokyo with a new partner and source of strength in her life. She recently married Courtney Elder, whom she's known since childhood. Elder said he's now Carter's "publicist, cameraman, driver, whatever she needs, make ice baths, all of those things. I've just stepped up."
After winning Olympic gold, Carter now believes she can help motivate others. "It's bigger than me. It's not just about me winning. It's about me inspiring others to be their best."
Carter must still earn her spot on Team USA. The Olympic Trials are set for next June in Oregon. If all goes well, Michelle Carter will march in the Opening Ceremony in Tokyo on July 24, 2020.