CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Raven Saunders has set multiple records from high school to college and fought her way through the 2016 Rio Olympics. She says this journey has been one that has paved the way for her success to this point today.
“It’s really 90% mental, so this time around just making sure I get out there and my minds all good and my minds ready to go,” says Saunders.
Raven is competing against 24 others at the US Olympic trials fighting for her spot on Team USA’s Track and Field team throwing shot put. Long-time coaches of the woman affectionally known as the “hulk” watched her journey begin as she set the new standard for shot put distance in high school and college.
“She went beyond whatever you have even thought. She picked up an 8-pound 8-ounce ball and next thing you know she’s traveling around the world,” said Saunders former coach, Herbert Johnson.
Saunders holds the record in the NCAA for the longest throw 63 feet and 5 inches, bringing that talent with her again into this year’s trials. Coach Johnson says he’ll be cheering her on from home.
“She’s not prototypical by any stretch of the imagination that you would figure to throw the women’s shot put,” Johnson says.
Making the trials is the first step she plans to take, but bringing home the gold to the Holy City is what Saunders says is the end goal.
“I am coming back with metal. I feel like life hasn’t put me through so much and amount of work and I know for a fact that I am not coming back empty-handed,” she says.