As Kansas track and field head coach Stanley Redwine stepped up to the Allen Fieldhouse media room podium Wednesday, the 21-year veteran of the University of Kansas was very keen not to make this event about himself.
Never mind the fact that he has been given a massive opportunity to be an assistant coach on the U.S. men's track and field team for next month's Olympic Games in Tokyo. No, this was solely about the four athletes sitting around the room waiting for his part of the media availability to be over.
"I believe that this is probably one of our best [U.S. Track] teams ever," Redwine said when asked about the team. "But, I'm excited for our [KU] athletes more... It's just a result of hard work paying off for everyone."
KU will send a total of five current and former track and field athletes and volunteer coaches, representing three countries, to Tokyo next month for the world to see. (Senior Alexandra Emilianov qualified in discus for Moldova Wednesday afternoon)
Being in Eugene, Oregon for the U.S. Olympic qualifiers as a national coach did not take away from the relief Redwine felt watching the three American Jayhawks qualify for the team.
"Everyone has their favorite," Redwine said. "For a coach, there's a huge sigh of relief for that moment of accomplishment. You're wanting those athletes to succeed [more]. But there's still a process that has to happen, and the athlete has to go out there and do it."
Redwine believes the mentality of each of the KU athletes heading to Tokyo is to not be satisfied with just being in Tokyo, but eyeing a medal.
"Everyone's thinking about medals. They're not thinking about having to be at the games. And that's kind of the way I think our coaches are preparing them. But, I think that's their mindset, so it's really exciting."
"For us to have this many people associated with the University of Kansas, I'm really excited too," Redwine said. "All these athletes have the ability to block out anything else and to focus on their event. And that's what makes this group special."
Over the next couple of days leading up to the Olympic games, the Daily Kansan will highlight each athlete heading to Tokyo. Be on the lookout for the new series, "Jayhawks in Tokyo," starting Monday, July 5.