Beijing 2008 and Beyond
By Andre Barnes, U-M Track & Field Senior

After this year's Beijing Olympic Games that featured 30 former and current U-M athletes, the 2012 Olympics look equally, if not more promising for the Wolverines. Track and field athletes such as Geena Gall, Tiffany Ofili, Jeff Porter and Andrew Ellerton were among the many U-M athletes that competed in their country's respective Olympic trials and narrowly missed performance marks that permitted entrance into this year's Olympic competition. Missing the 100-meter hurdle final by only thousandths of a second at the trials, Ofili has confirmed that she will be preparing for the 2012 Olympics.

Now entering her fourth and final year of competition as a Wolverine, Ofili has already compiled one of the greatest careers in Michigan program history. She has won three national titles -- two in the 100-meter hurdles (2007, '08) and one in the 60 meter-hurdles (2008) -- and has made Michigan history by being U-M's first NCAA Indoor All-American and first Big Ten 60-meter hurdles champion. She is the Michigan indoor record holder in the 60-meter hurdles (7.94 seconds) and the outdoor record holder in the 100-meter hurdles (12.73). got a chance to speak with Tiffany to get her thoughts on the upcoming season and beyond.

Q: How do you think competing on the college level has prepared you to this point

A: Being with a group of girls who are more focused and enthusiastic motivated me. Since I have been competing collegiately, I have improved my work ethic and time management. Competing for U-M has also enabled me to compete against the best of the best and to work with a great coach.

Q: What are your short- and long-term goals for your career

A: My short-term goals are always the same and very general -- to do better than the previous year, be a better leader and improve my work ethic. I do set specific short-term and long-term goals for myself in terms times in my event, but I normally don't disclose those because they are very personal. My long term goals include competing post collegiately and just taking my talent as far as I can.

Q: How big of a disappointment was it not making it to Beijing this year

A: It was definitely a bittersweet situation. I was disappointed, but at the same time, I was very grateful for having the opportunity to even compete at the Olympic Trials and make it past three rounds. It was great because I realized that my goal of making it to the Olympics was still attainable. I was so close to making it to the finals. Overall, I found the experience very beneficial for my career in the long run.

Q: Being able to compete in the Olympic trials is a pretty big deal. Did you ever imagine that you would make it this far

A: I always like to dream big. When I was seven- or eight-years old and first started running track it was always a goal to make it to the Olympics. As I grew older, I began to realize how big of a task making it to that level actually is. But I have come a long way and now, instead of a dream, it has become a realistic goal for me.

Q: As expected, the NCAA meet is much more significant and pressurized than any regular scheduled meet during the season. The same must go for the Olympic Trials compared to any other meet. What is your favorite part about competing on such a larger scale

A: The best part to me is getting the exposure and seeing the level of competition that is out there. College and professional competition are two completely different levels. Competing against the best makes you compete harder to be the best.