Justin Nguyen is a fourth year veteran sprinter and hurdler on the Colorado College track and field team. Nguyen has helped lead the team to strong showings on the conference level over the past few years. The men’s and women’s track team open their indoor seasons today and tomorrow at Colorado University Boulder.
BH: The season opens up at CU Boulder this weekend. What are the team and individual goals you have?
Justin Nguyen: We’re just trying to hang banners.
BH: At CU Boulder?
JN: Break our records, break their records; I would take any record.
BH: Who on the team are you particularly excited to watch this weekend?
JN: If he’s healthy, Michael Gorman, freshman phenomenon. I’m just waiting for him to prove it.
BH: What would your strategy be for a dance battle with Coach Ron Jules?
JN: I might just throw out some of the classic vine dances. They’re easy, fun to do, and that’s the only way you can beat a professional dancer. I might dab a lot.
BH: Tell us a little bit about your quest to break the world record for most dabs in one minute.
JN: The record was somewhere around 190. I did a test trial, we recorded and counted it, and I had 263 dabs. I pretty handily beat the record, so I decided to apply to the Guinness Book of World Records to see if they would accept my application … Six months later, they emailed me back saying they rejected my application because they can’t quantify a dab.
BH: Your LinkedIn profile says you were a science fair judge. What marketable skills did you gain from that experience?
JN: I volunteered at the Colorado Springs Charter School as a science fair judge, and I learned how to positively critique little kids. It was really hard to tell them that their science projects were awful, but we had to tell them nicely. So marketable skills, just being positive, telling people that it’s alright even though you see no future for them.
BH: Your LinkedIn also says you’re fluent in Vietnamese, so answer me this: Nhóm nào là tôt nhât trong SCAC?
JN: Nhung con hô dai hoc Colorado.
BH: Tôi dông ý. We’ll let the kids at home Google Translate that one.
BH: You took a year of Chinese class at the University of New Mexico, and then switched to Spanish at Central New Mexico Community College. What spurred this change for you?
JN: Well, the NSA paid for me to take a Chinese class before my sophomore year of high school at the University of New Mexico … They decided more people in the U.S. needed to learn Chinese and Arabic because those are two of the strategic targets in national government. I got to CC and they denied my credit … I had taken Spanish 102 and 201 at the Central New Mexico Community College, and CC also denied them. I was pretty upset.
BH: You’ve been compared athletically to Isaiah Thomas and Manny Pacquiao, due to the unique combination of small stature and raw, unbridled power you bring to the table. Which comparison do you prefer?
JN: I think I’d have to go with Manny Pacquiao—he’s just done so much in his lifetime. Not only does he excel at fighting, which I hope to one day be good at because [teammate and housemate] Ethan Holland beats me up on the daily, but I’d love to also be a singer, a congressman, one of the many other things Manny Pacquiao does for his country.
BH: What are your plans for next year?
JN: My parents told me not to move back home if I’m still unemployed … So go to Denver, find a part-time job if I don’t have a full-time job. I was thinking about working at Target because employees get a 10 percent discount on everything.
BH: In your opinion, who’s the best track and field athlete in the SCAC?
JN: There’s a few up there, but one of them would be Cody Hall, the top point scorer at the conference meet last year.
BH: Have you ever beaten him?
JN: I have not.
BH: Have I?
JN: Yeah, I think you have.
BH: That’s all I needed to know.
Thanks for opening up and sharing some personal details Justin, and good luck this weekend. To keep up with what Justin and the rest of the team are up to this season, follow him on Instagram at jnguyen_20.