'We are doing this for North Carolina': Hope Mills native heads to 2021 Tokyo Olympics

HOPE MILLS, N.C. (WTVD) -- USA National Champion Quanera Hayes is headed to the 2021 Olympics. The 29-year-old proudly calls the Carolinas home.

" I'm praying every day just claiming and speaking it. I'm going to go and do what I know I can do. Hopefully, I can walk away with two gold medals and not just one," said Hayes.

The 400-meter Olympic Trials National Champion spoke with ABC11 from the comfort of her home in Orlando, Florida. The 29-year-old athlete juggles the life of being a 2021 Olympian, wife and mother.

"When I'm at track practice, I'm at practice. I'm able to turn that mommy hat off because I know my son is being taken care of, but when I'm home, I'm fully engaged with him," said Hayes.

In 2016. Hayes qualified for the Olympic Trials, but weeks earlier had a bone marrow procedure. While it didn't feel like it then, she placed 8th in the Women's 400 semifinals, which she calls a stroke of luck.

"After that race, I had to go get on crutches. The doctor said if I had kept on running, I would have broke my legs. Yeah, I mean, we were going for it. I have nothing to lose so let's just go for it," said Hayes.

When the dust settled a few weeks back the Olympic athlete and HBCU graduate became a USA National Champion in the 400-meter final clocking a record time of 49.7 seconds.

"So, now, it's a matter of me trying to work my body back into shape and prayerfully work my back into shape so I can run a faster time," said Hayes.

She is a graduate of Grays Creek High School and a woman of the illustrious Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority.

As Hayes heads to Tokyo in just a few weeks, she thanks everyone including those the Hope Mills and Fayetteville community who have supported her every step of the way.

"Just know that we are doing this for Fayetteville, Hope Mills, North Carolina. We are taking this thing all the way," said Hayes.
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