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Olympian returns home to talk to her old schools

2008 Olympic gold medal winner Natasha Hastings gives positive messges to students

September 23, 2008 - NY

Phyllis Anderson and Errol Anderson


A 2008 Olympic Gold Medallist in the 4x400m relay, Natasha Hastings took time out to visit Clara Barton High School in the borough where she was born on Monday, September 22.  As she entered the auditorium, she donned her Olympic Gold Medal, which she shared, letting the athletes touch it, wear it and marvel at it as it sparkled. She spoke to the girls and boys track teams as well as the girls volleyball team.  She shared her life up to the Olympics in the world of track & field.  Her message was a simple one: stay focused, balance your academics/athletics and work hard at all times and your dreams too can be realized.

On Tuesday, September 23, Hastings traveled to Queens where she grew up and visited The Edward Kennedy Ellington; Public School 140 in Queens to speak to a packed auditorium of aspiring student athletes.  Following the brief ceremony, which included a color guard, School Safety Officer Shaquana Moore sang the “Star Spangled Banner,” and Belinda Lewis sang “Lift Every Voice.” 

Clearly, Natasha was emotional, moved by the outpouring of appreciation that she received. She viewed this ceremony as her personal awards ceremony for the Olympics; since she ran in the semi-finals of the 4x400m relay, and not the finals, she was not on the podium when the USA team received their medals listening to the anthem.  She spoke of her journey through track as a youngster at the age of 9; her achievements through her high school, A. Philip Randolph; her spectacular collegiate career at South Carolina; and her first year as a professional athlete ending at the Olympics in Beijing.  Wearing her gold medal proudly around her neck, her message to the young upstarts was to stay in school, listen to your teachers, parents, and family.  Stay clear of peer pressure and always make sure you do your very best in your schoolwork.

2008 Olympic Gold Medalist Natasha Hastings talks of
her Olymipic adventure.  (photo by Errol Anderson)

Hastings with members of the Clara Barton HS track team                                  Students at PS 140 in Jamaica, NY wait to hear Hastings
(photo by Errol Anderson)                                                                                              (photo by Errol Anderson)