Willamette Alum Competes for Gold

Andrew Hermann '93 will compete in the 2000 Olympic Games in racewalking on Friday, Sept. 29, while his parents, brother and friends cheer on the sidelines.

"My goal is to finish in the top 10 at the Olympics," said Hermann. "Right now I'm 30th, but I turned heads in my recent competitions in Europe. I'm the dark horse, but I prefer it that way. It has been my goal to be in the Olympics since I graduated. I put my social life and career on hold, so it's very satisfying to be going.

"Hermann has been competing full-time in racewalking since 1993. He races in the 50-kilometer (31 miles) event and hopes to finish around 3:45, which means he has to walk 7-minute-miles.

Racewalkers must follow two rules: one foot must remain on the ground at all times and when the heel strikes the ground the knee must be locked through the support phase, when the leg passes beneath the torso.

"The challenge of racewalking is the technique," said Hermann. "In our event, no matter how tired you get, you need to keep the technique going or you'll be thrown out of the race."

A typical practice day preparing for the Olympics included four to seven hours of training per day. He also meets with two sports psychologists weekly to discuss racing pressures, relaxation, mental visualization and outside factors, such as the media.

Hermann has three corporate sponsors - adidas, Enhance Performance Systems and Multnomah Athletic Club. The sponsors help cover his travel costs and fulfill Hermann's equipment needs.