ROLLA — Chantae McMillan came back to her hometown of Rolla for the holidays, in part for some help as she looks to qualify for the Summer Games in Tokyo next year.
“Olympic athletes don’t get a paycheck,” McMillan said at a fundraiser at Public House Brewing Company in Rolla. “We rely upon sponsors. And I have always been able to rely on people in Rolla who have always helped me.”
This fundraiser, put on by the Rolla Multisport Club and attended by more than 100 people, was intended to bring in enough money to buy McMillan a new javelin and case.
McMillan competed in the 2012 Olympics in the Heptathlon, but she fell short of qualifying for the games in 2016. For 2020, she is focusing on just one track and field event and wants to make the U.S. team for javelin throw.
“Training for one thing instead of a seven-event competition is a lot different. The mindset is different, weightlifting is different, the focus is much more specific,” McMillan said.
McMillan primarily trains in Alabama, but she comes back often and works out at Rolla Junior High or Missouri University of Science & Technology.
“It’s rare for me to be working out in either of those places and not have someone come up to me and ask me how things are going and talk about the Olympics,” McMillan said. “That’s the number one reason I love coming back here and giving back to the community when I have the time.”
McMillan has run youth sports camps in Rolla in the past and plans to again in the future.
She said the fundraiser exceeded her expectations.
“This is great. This is perfect to help my buy those two things, and then whatever is left over I use to help with my other funds that I need for medical and travel,” McMillan said.
McMillan is planning several competitions in the spring, possibly including the Dewey Allgood Invitational in Rolla in April. The Olympic Trials for track and field will be in Oregon in June.
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Reprinted with permission from news.stlpublicradio.org.