From a Small Town to the Big Time: An Olympian's Journey
Leo Manzano is a former resident of Marble Falls and Granite Shoals outside of Austin, Texas. This will be his second time qualifying for the Olympics; he is one of 17 competitors from the University of Texas representing the United States in London this year.
Popular Hispanics: How have you been preparing for the Olympics?
Leo Manzano: I went through a couple of injuries in 2011, and I still made it to the world championships, but for me it was phenomenal. And it was a relief to make it on that team, but I did have to go back to the drawing board to figure out why I was having these injuries. So I went back to one of my strength coaches from the University of Texas and we sat down and kind of hammered out some stuff. We’ve been working since November, and everything’s gone really well, in terms of training, nutrition, and even all of the therapy work.
PH: So at what point did you realize that you wanted to run?
LM: It was never that I realized; it was that I always wanted to run. Ever since I was young I just enjoyed being outdoors. I enjoyed doing anything and everything that had to do with being outside. Summer of my sixth grade year is kind of when I first started training to run, and I knew that I enjoyed running and that’s really more or less when I knew that I had a knack, and a gift, to run.
PH: What do you do with your time off?
LM: I train a lot, but there are a lot of other things outside of running that I do. You know, the Manzano Mile is a great event for the community in terms of getting people out and enjoying themselves. It promotes health and fitness, but at the same time we’re giving back to a good cause. Outside of running, I definitely like to enjoy movies; I like to go for an occasional walk. But I enjoy running, competing, and I enjoy putting on the Manzano Mile.
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