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'That gives me an extra year' | St. Louisan eyeing an Olympic bid after games delayed to 2021

“As soon as I grinded and I got fourth for that nationals, then I was like 'OK I need to try to qualify for the 2020 Olympics, for real,'” Saleh said.

ST. LOUIS — For most athletes, time away from the game they love has been brutal. Missing this season is something they never saw coming.

“It’s tough, I still get sad about it all the time because right now we’re supposed to be competing every weekend,” Missouri Baptist sophomore, Maegan Saleh said.

“I live for competition, I’m so competitive,” she said.

A sprinter and long jumper at MBU, Saleh has already picked up a few accomplishments in just one and a half seasons.

“Nationals was a surprise,” Saleh said reflecting on her freshman season. “I did not expect to get 4th at outdoor nationals.”

Saleh admitted she wasn’t as focused as she should have been in her freshman campaign, but that 4th place finish opened her eyes that she had what it took to break. She followed that year up with an All-American indoor season in her sophomore season, finishing 3rd at nationals. But it was that meet her freshman season that got her thinking.

“As soon as I grinded and I got fourth for that nationals, then I was like 'OK, I need to try to qualify for the 2020 Olympics, for real,'” Saleh said.

Due to her dual citizenship with Egypt, a spot on their Olympic team as a long jumper was very realistic. All she had to do was jump a few more feet at the Mediterranean championship this June and she was in there.

But with the rapid outspread of the coronavirus, Saleh won’t be competing in any meets anytime soon, which isn’t so bad she said.

“I’m excited about that, that the Olympics are pushed back to 2021 because that gives me an extra year,” Saleh said.

She said for some athletes this postponement is a disadvantage, but for her, it’s an advantage.

“Now I just really have to grind like crazy for the next year,” she said.

This includes training seven days a week, even during the pandemic Saleh said.

"So basically, I’m doing like two to three different things a day either mileage and sprinting or like mileage and hills,” she said. “Or I could just do a mile and stretch.”

That’s because Saleh knows one thing, those goals she’s leaping for in the future.

“Next year I’m really hoping to win nationals, indoor and outdoor,” She said.

Will be outleaped by someone else, if she doesn’t put the work in now.

“I’m very hard on myself,” Saleh said.  “I expect a lot out of myself and I’m still not satisfied with where I am, but I am proud of myself at the same time so I’m still working hard, like I’m never going to stop.”

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