A:I am from Brooklyn, NY.
Q:When does someone know that they can compete in the Olympics?
A:You really don't know because it is a process of training, growth, development and coaching. When I was 12 years old my coach saw how determined I was to be a great runner and he told me, "DD (my nickname), you are going to be in the Olympics". I was like OK... let me look this up! Throughout my middle school and high school years, I was one of the best "quarter-milers" in the country. I was winning National Championships - my first one when I was 16 at Madison Square Garden. In 1981, I won the Pepsi Invitational as an extra person because somebody had scratched. Out in lane 8, I ran a 51.60 at 17 years old and I beat Rosyln Bryant (the current 400 Meter Outdoor record holder), the late Flo-Jo and Lorna Forde, who was my teammate at the time.
I remember Ahmad Rashaad interviewing me and Bobby Kersee came over and said, "Wow, see you again". I just went out there and ran and won. This was my debut into the "World of Track and Field". Once you win and start winning against current "superstars", then you get invited to meets national and international and the preparation is in your training, your mindset, your coach and of course your sponsors. Everything else falls into place and it becomes a daily ritual in accomplishing these goals.
Q:You won Olympic gold. Describe that feeling...
A:I was an alternate and ran in the rounds and they decided to give Denean Howard and myself the Gold Medal because we helped the team. This became a precedent for the next Olympics up until now is to reward all that participated. It was in Los Angeles and I was amazed at what was going on. I just wanted to run. It was the team of "future stars" - Mary Lou Retton, Michael Jordan, Patrick Ewing, Mark Breland. It was a lot of us!
And the Olympic Village was amazing. Every nationality of food and everybody hanging out together and exchanging pins. We had to attend daily promotional events. It was chaotic, calm, sensational, overwhelming but "exciting" to be a part of history. My only regret is I retired to soon due to not finding the right coach after Freddie (my coach from the Atoms TC) and I parted in 1992.
Q:Why did you choose the 4×400 meter relay?
A:I did not chose this, Freddie felt the 400 Meters was the right race for me. He coached my personality and this made me one of the greatest of all time. If you are a "quartermiler", you are running the 4x400 Meter Relay. We still hold the Outdoor American record since 1988 Seoul Olympics with me, Denean Howard, Valerie Brisco and the late Flo-Jo in a time of 3:15.51 1988 Olympics - Women's 4x400 Meter Relay
Q:What's the key to increasing speed?
A:When I was competing we had a speed machine and parachutes and now they have the new technology with increasing speed like focusing on arms, legs - plyometrics and getting your feet strongly supported for impacts. Speed agility training should be a combination of exercises that boost explosive velocity, agility coordination and cardiovascular endurance.
Speed drills and exercises to increase your reaction time and your acceleration time by strengthening your hip flexors and your fast twitch muscles. You see Usain Bolt in the 100 Meters accelerating mid-way, but he actually does turn on those "fast twitch" muscles and decelerates less.
Q:What was your training and diet like?
A:During the Fall months - September - December it was cross country training. Prospect Park every morning 3.5 miles on the inside. Afternoon track work-outs was interval training like 8 - 400 Meters with 2 minute rest - 2- sets or 8 - 200 Meters 30 seconds rest - 3 sets. On the weekends we went to Coney Island to run on the beach 4 miles and we did various exercises with the medicine ball, jumpropes with a weighted vest. Weight room was 3x a week - heavy lifiting.
January - March was the indoor season so we focused on speed and endurance with weights, jump ropes, medicine ball and plyometrics and more speed workouts to prepare for the season.
April - August/September was the outdoor season. We had our focus on race-training and did different workouts - Monday and Wednesday were the interval workouts and Tuesday and Thursday we did speed workouts and technique and Friday was a light day for us.
My diet was strict. No sweets, loads of carbs, proteins, greens, vegetables and healthy eating.
Q:What's next for you and your career?
A:I really want to get a job back in sports but it is tough in the NYC area. I work as a Licensed Real Estate salesperson. My motto is "Use an Agent with a Real Track Record"! But sports is my bloodline and I miss my colleagues tremendously. As I get older, I look back at what I could have done differently and truth be said, it's hard to be me but I am a "Winner, Champion, Olympian, Role Model, Master Chef, Motivator and a Parent", and I have to combine all of these in one bowl and come up with a "Master Dish"....soon, very soon!
I have an 18 year old son Dior Christian who plays for Bishop Loughlin basketball, I encourage him to run track because he is fast and can write his own ticket to a Division 1 school, but he likes basketball so we will see how this plays out.
Q:It will work out! Can you give us all of your social media handles?
On Twitter: @DianeDixon