Putting the “Stud” in Student Athlete: Q&A with Freshman Track Phenom Michael Gorman

At Colorado University Boulder last Saturday, the Colorado College Women’s Track and Field team set two new school records: Sam Gilbert brought the 60 meter dash record down to 8.21 seconds, and the 4×400 team of Liza Huschle, Ayla Loper, Duranya Freeman, and Asmeda Spalding-Aguirre brought the record down to an incredibly fast 4 minutes and 8 seconds, whereas the previous record was 4 minutes and 17 seconds.

First-year Maryland native, Michael Gorman, set the men’s team up for an exciting track season with several solid races at CU Boulder. The young sprinter broke the men’s 200 meter record, but unfortunately the CC men’s track and field team is considered a “club sport” for the indoor season, so Gorman’s record didn’t count. To hash this out, I sat down with Gorman and inquired about his hopes and dreams for the season.

Photo courtesy of Alex Nichols

Ben Hall: Your first meet of the season was this past Saturday at CU Boulder. How’d that go?

Michael Gorman: It was really just great to get back out there. My last race was in early June, and basically since then I’ve been thinking about my first race as a Tiger … I was pretty happy with how I did. I ran the 200 and opened for the 4×400. I ran a 22.96 in the 200, which is only 0.2 off of my personal best, which I was pretty happy about, and broke an unofficial school record in the process.

BH: You didn’t officially break the school record for the indoor 200 meter because men’s indoor track and field is a club sport, which means the official record books are sealed now that it’s no longer a varsity sport until the spring. What are some of your thoughts on men’s indoor track not being recognized as a varsity sport?

MG: I’ve always thought of indoor and outdoor as one long season, and that differentiation seems a bit unnecessary to me, though I’m not completely familiar with all the intricacies of organizing track and field … We train like any DIII varsity team, but we don’t get the same recognition for it. Having the record and being on the website and everything would be nice, obviously, but it is what it is, and I’ll still be here in the spring to set some records.

BH: Talk to me about meeting Former President Bill Clinton.

MG: I’m originally from Washington D.C., and my uncle is close with Bill Clinton—he worked pretty closely with him throughout his campaigns. Bill was speaking at an event to campaign for Hillary during the primaries in downtown D.C., so I went with my uncle, and we got to meet him, shook his hand. It was funny because I showed him the picture we had taken together when I was six months old in the White House at the presidential Christmas dinner. Unfortunately, he did not recognize me from that prior meeting—I’ve aged a bit the last 18 years.

BH: So that clearly flows into my next question: How was swimming with the pigs in the Bahamas?

MG: In a linear fashion, meeting Bill Clinton and swimming with pigs are really two highlights of my life, honestly … I don’t think they liked me very much; they were kind of avoiding me.

BH: In addition to track, you’ve played baseball, soccer, and basketball competitively. Why is track the one you stuck with?

MG: There’s something beautifully fulfilling about the way the 400 feels. It’s something about just complete physical exertion and dead tiredness that really feels good when you know you’ve really earned it, and it’s really satisfying. And although I was known growing up as the Michael Jordan or Tim Tebow of being able to switch sports seamlessly, my heart lies on the track.

BH: One thing you seem pretty passionate about is music. First off, let’s go back to 2013. You’re at a Kanye concert. What was he putting out at that time?

MG: That was the “Yeezus“ tour, Kendrick was opening for him pretty soon after “Good Kid, M.A.A.D City” … Kanye was kind of the foundation for my music tastes, I started listening to him probably in seventh grade.

BH: What do you think about the direction he’s taken since then?

MG: I love everything Kanye’s doing. I think he gets a lot of unnecessary hate, people talk about “The Life of Pablo” as something terrible, but when you really think about it, if anybody else put out “The Life of Pablo” and didn’t have to compare that to the rest of his amazing discography, they would say “Wow, that’s a great album.” If Chance put that album out, people would be freaking out. No disrespect to Chance, obviously, he’s just not on the same level as Kanye. I’m excited for what Kanye puts out next.

BH: You’ve written about rap and trap music; what’s your response to people who say that trap is repetitive and shallow or even disrespectful in its subject matter?

MG: Recently, there was a study done by drug.org studying different genres and the drug, alcohol, and sex references per song, and they found that country music has far more references to those than trap music. There’s definitely an element of racism that goes into the perception. I was sitting in the training room and they were playing country music—and I’m not the biggest fan—but I respect it if it’s done well. I was noticing that there are a lot of common motifs in country, and there are different common motifs in trap, so it’s kind of the same thing. Drawing the line at trap is just a little shortsighted, I’d say.

BH: Do you have any thoughts on the recent Super Bowl celebrations/riots in Philly?

MG: Well, as a Washington football fan, I’ll start out by saying that I already don’t like the Eagles. The glorification of the riots in Philly, all the [strangely positive] social media coverage by Bleacher Report and Barstool of people flipping over cars, tearing down light posts, burning stuff, reflects a big issue in America. A bunch of drunk white people get a championship [and riot], and it’s gotten away with … there was no such glorification of events that occurred through demonstrations, peaceful or violent, in the past in an attempt to create racial justice. It’s disheartening to see that happen, and reflects poorly on our nation … It’s another thing that needs to wake America up and say, “There’s a problem; we need to fix it.” And that’s something I want to do. I want to make a change, help people who have been worse off because of pre-existing social structures.

BH: What are your goals for the rest of the track season?

MG: I want to break the school record for the 400. It’s 49.25 right now, and I ran a 49.43 at state last year … I’m also looking forward to doing well with the 4×400; it’s one of my favorite events. Competing with other guys is really fun, just that rush when your teammate is running down the straight to hand it off is beautiful. I’m excited to see where the season goes.

Thanks to Michael for chatting with us, good luck to you and the rest of the team this season. The teams’ next meet is at the Air Force Academy on Feb. 16 and 18.

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