From Spruce Street to Rio de Janeiro

A Manchester High graduate talks about his Olympic experience

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All track athletes know that stepping into the stadium where you will soon compete brings butterflies to your stomach. Thinking about doing this at the Olympic level must have been stomach-turning.

The Olympic stadium in Rio de Janeiro, August 2016

Photo: Thayer Redman
The Olympic stadium in Rio de Janeiro, August 2016

In an interview with Harbinger, 2008 Manchester High graduate and 2016 U.S. Olympian Mike Hartfield was asked about that first look into the Olympic stadium and his first few steps inside.

“Walking into the Olympic stadium for the first time came with a rush of emotion and excitement,” Hartfield said. “We walk out of the tunnel and you just see people from around the world cheering and hanging over railings.”

With this extreme commotion and rush of intensity, Mike was still comforted being able to look up into the stands and see American flags waved and he continuously thought, “I had support that day.”

One of Mike’s biggest supporters was at the stadium as he walked in and while he was competing. His high school track coach, Mr. Thayer Redman, was at the venue in Brazil when Hartfield competed in the long jump. Hartfield, who finished 25th in qualifying at the Olympics, got his start as an athlete at MHS and left his mark at the school under Mr. Redman.

Mike Hartfield, MHS c/o 2008

Photo: Morgan Smith via SOMANHIS Yearbook
Mike Hartfield, MHS c/o 2008

At Manchester High School, Mike still holds the Indoor Track school record in the long jump (23 feet), as well as having three Outdoor Track records: 24-feet, 8 ½ -inches in the long jump, 48-feet, 7 ¾-inches in the triple jump, and 42.7 seconds in the 4X100 meter relay (on a team with Brice Edwards, Michael Broome and Keron Stoute). All four of Mike’s school records were set in his senior year of 2007-08.

Moving onto college, Mike went to Ohio State University and continued his passion for track and field competing as a Division I athlete for the Buckeyes.

However, he didn’t stop there. Mike became a professional track and field athlete for Adidas, traveling around the world constantly to compete. When asked about his travels and the change from high school to the professional world, Mike said he adjusted.

“I used to be blown away just to be in a different state other than Connecticut, Massachusetts or New York and now traveling around the world feels normal to me,” Hartfield said. “It is just an incredible feeling all together.”

Mike took a lot from Manchester High School, however. Though this may seem like a little step in his journey forward, it was a building block for him as a person and an athlete. Mike said he has taken a lot from MHS when moving forward in college and as a professional athlete.

Mike Hartfield with MHS Track and Field coach Thayer Redman in Rio de Janeiro, August 2016

Photo: Thayer Redman
Mike Hartfield with MHS Track and Field coach Thayer Redman in Rio de Janeiro, August 2016

“There are opportunities out there to be seized,” Hartfield said. “Manchester is a very diverse city and because of that, MHS is the perfect place to cross paths with different kinds of people … stepping out of your comfort zone and trying new things.”

Mike also talked about “setting a goal and working toward it tirelessly.”

Hartfield, who lives and trains in Southern California, still thinks of Manchester as home, even with his frequent and busy travels, and he loves to see where he came from. It reminds him of how much he continues to accomplish.

He wanted all student athletes to think about and work toward, “your own craft, don’t just go through the motions of being a player on a team, but really take the time to work on yourself.”

Mike values the time spent at MHS and all that he learned from the great Manchester community, which has helped him develop into the person and athlete he is today. From Manchester High School to the 2016 Olympics, Mike Hartfield has made extremely memorable track experiences, leaving his mark wherever he goes!

Senior Morgan Smith is a member of the MHS Track Team.


Make sure to check out The Pulse’s story on Mike this Friday, October 7th!

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