Many tag the Olympic games as the grandest stage for most athletes.
Twenty-five-year-old hurdler Georganne Moline represented not only the United States at the London Games in 2012, she represented the state of Arizona – and if all goes as planned, will do so again in Rio de Janeiro next year.
Although she was born in Montana, Moline calls herself an Arizonan; she’s lived in Arizona since she was three.
“Not only the University of Arizona but also the state of Arizona, it’s dear to my heart,” Moline said.
Moline dominated high school hurdlers in 2007 as she swept the Arizona state championship finals.
She continued her dominance her senior year by winning the state championship in both 100m and 300m hurdles.
In 2008, as a high school senior, Moline ran the 300m hurdles in 43.15 seconds, which still stands as the Arizona 4A record and the second fastest ever in any Arizona divisions, according to aiaonline.org.
Despite Arizona having a place in her heart, Moline wanted to go to an out-of-state college.
Recruited by both San Diego State and Portland State, she convinced herself she wouldn’t be running in Arizona much longer.
Then she met Fred Harvey, head coach of Arizona’s track and field team.
Harvey called Moline and told her that he wanted to pay her a home-visit.
“I remember telling my mom ‘I don’t want to hurt his feelings but I don’t want him to come, I’m not going to Tucson,” Moline said.
Her mother Carrie told her to give him a shot and reminded her to keep an open mind. Harvey made that visit and swayed Moline’s mind instantly.
“After he left, I didn’t want to tell him this,” Moline said. “But I was like mom, ‘I’m going to be a Wildcat!”
A Wildcat she was and a successful one at that.
Moline advanced to the NCAA semi-finals in both 2010 and 2011.
It was in 2012 that her career started trending upwards at a rapid rate.
She took home her first conference championship with a then personal best of 55.12 seconds in the 400m hurdles at the PAC 12 Championships.
Moline failed to qualify for the finals of the NCAA Championships after she fell in a preliminary race.
Refusing to let that fall slow her career down, Moline ran in the Olympic trials for the 2012 London games.
Moline advanced to the semi-finals in London after winning her first heat with a then-personal best 54.31 seconds; she made it through the semis and into the finals.
Her personal-best 53.92-second run earned her fifth place in the finals and still stands as the fastest 400-meter time in UA history.
“The University of Arizona has been so good to me,” Moline said. “Without them, I probably wouldn’t be where I am today.”
As a high school senior, Moline couldn’t see herself living in Tucson. Now, two years after receiving a degree in psychology, she still lives in The Old Pueblo.
Harvey is the sole reason Moline chose Tucson over San Diego and he’s also the reason she stayed. Harvey continues to coach her and the two are currently training for next year’s Olympic trials.
Those trials take place July 7 – July 10 in Eugene, Oregon.
Moline, currently ranked the sixth best 400m hurdler in the world, faces stiff competition both nationally and internationally.
Czech hurdler Zuzana Hejnova tops those rankings with two other Americans, Cassandra Tate (2) from Louisiana and Shamier Little (5) from Kentucky ranked ahead of Moline.
Nike sponsors her, meaning she trains full-time and is expected to compete in races regularly.
A day of training can be anything from weight lifting one day to running exercises another. She currently trains with the UA hurdlers as they prep for their upcoming season.
“To get what I want out of track and field, I need to do what it takes,” Moline said. “And that means living in Tucson and I really do love it.”
Skyler Brandt is a reporter for Arizona Sonora News, a service from the School of Journalism with the University of Arizona. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org,