Steeplechaser Alcorn aiming high in London
AUG 02, 2012 5:03p ET
Cronkite News Service
LONDON -- Silence. Proximity. Technique. Execution.
They are all disciplines needed to shoot a deer hunting with a bow. Kyle Alcorn, an Arizona State University alumnus and Mesa resident, hopes to land his first deer next month.
"As soon as I’m done with my season this year and I come back in September to Arizona, I’m calling up Aaron (a friend),” Alcorn said. "We’re going straight up in the mountains again. I’m going to get something this year."
A deer isn’t the only thing Alcorn is in the hunt for. Competing in the Olympic steeplechase Friday, he hopes to qualify for the finals and a shot at a medal. He concedes that’s a long shot since he is in the "middle of the pack."
"My goal is to get into the finals,” Alcorn said. "I’m capable of it, but I’ll need to run one of my best races to get in there, which I’m ready for."
In silence, he focuses on every lap in the race, mentally drawing up a game plan.
"The better I can make it in my head, usually the better I do in the race," Alcorn said.
At the Olympic trials, Alcorn admitted he was nervous but doesn’t expect to be as nervous Friday.
"The pressures that you go through, you mostly put them on yourself, but an Olympic trials event is just terrible," Alcorn said.
In the trials, he placed third with a time of 8:22:17 after stumbling over the last water pit. By then, he said, his legs felt like Jell-O. Collapsing after the race, he said his the emotions were overwhelming but that qualifying for the Olympics didn’t sink in until the next morning.
Growing up, Alcorn dreamed of this opportunity. It was one of his goals.
He began running at the age of 5 or 6 when his parents entered him in a street race and he won.
"Being successful at it kept me going," Alcorn said. "I enjoy winning, personally, so it just ended up being the sport I was best at."
Whenever the Summer Olympics were on, he watched, especially the track events.
"I just remember watching on the TV, the American athletes coming out of the stadium and just being like, 'That’s got to be the coolest feeling ever,'" Alcorn said. "In order to be able to take part in that and for it to become an actual reality for me has been awesome."
Chills of excitement overwhelmed Alcorn when he exited the tunnel with the rest of the U.S. team during the Opening Ceremonies. Since then, Alcorn has prepared for his race with shorter runs, stretching, relaxing and waiting for his family to join him in London.
His wife, Angela, and 6-month-old son, Landon, are two of the 10 members coming to support him.
"Quite the cheering group," Alcorn said.
Angela is not surprised Kyle made the team. He worked on handling the stress of the sport and, she said, has raw talent and dedication.
"One of the things I love most about him is his dedication, as evidenced through getting up every morning at 5 a.m. to go for a long run, even when it is on his own," Angela said.
Training can get lonely, but Alcorn loves running for a living.
"It’s been great overall," Alcorn said. "It’s had its ups and downs, but it’s basically been an honor to run for a living -- not too many people get to do that."
But he isn’t satisfied.
"I always want more from a sport. I guess that’s been good, because it has allowed me to get good at my sport," Alcorn said, laughing. "But, I can be a little greedy."
Alcorn competed at Oregon State University before transferring to ASU, where he ran the second-fastest time in school history and majored in interdisciplinary studies, focusing on communication and business. He graduated in 2008.
In 2009, Alcorn made the World Championship team.
He currently lives in Mesa but said he hopes to move his family back to Clovis, Calif., his and Angela’s hometown. Before that, he has a few other things to take care of.
"A long goal of an American record would be ultimate, but I don’t even know if that’s achievable," Alcorn said. "But, it all starts with a dream. I didn’t think being an Olympian was achievable either, and eventually I figured out that one out after many years."