USC track star Nellum soaking it all in after huge year
JUL 18, 2013 5:21p ET
The past 12 months for him have been something straight out of a movie script.
Just four years after being shot in both legs and told he would never be able to run again, Nellum made the U.S. Olympic team. He came back home as a silver medalist in the 4x400m relay. At the closing ceremonies, he was chosen as the flag bearer for the USA.
Making what many believe to be a difficult decision, Nellum decided to return to school for a sixth year instead of turning pro.
His comeback in 2012 paled in comparison to Nellum officially being back to his old self in 2013.
He was named the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association National Men's Track Athlete of the Year. By the end of the 2013 season, he stood alone at the top of the 400m mountain as an NCAA champion.
"When I made the Olympic team I didn't even make it to the national finals," he said. "So, to come back and achieve that goal – it's a good memory for me."
So what's next?
"I'm (going to) just enjoy my summer," he said.
That he has.
It's been a summer filled with red carpets, award shows, and appearances including being a presenter at this year’s Gatorade National Athlete of the Year Awards in Hollywood earlier this week. It all brought back memories to his time at the same awards ceremony back in 2007 when he was the Gatorade National Male Track Athlete of the Year.
"It's an honor to always give back to the future," he said.
Nellum plans to take a trip or two and ultimately it'll wind down with him officially making a decision on the direction his pro career will go. It's a jump he contemplated a year ago but is now ready to make.
The specifics are still working themselves out but Nellum already has goals in mind for what he wants to accomplish on the professional track.
"I want to run 43 seconds (in the 400m)," he said. "That really is my goal for track and field period …and win a gold medal. I won a silver medal. Unfortunately, we should have won that gold but things happen and that’s the sport of track and field."
His continued progress in the sport will lead to a trip to Rio in the summer of 2016 as a member of the U.S. Olympic team, he hopes.