He earned silver medals in the 2000 and 2004 Olympics in the 110-meter high hurdles. At South Carolina, he won five NCAA championships. He even went back to college to finish his business degree after leaving after his junior year.
Now as his running career winds down, Trammell is trying to set a path for his next venture.
“My goal is to make sure I transition into what I’m doing when my track career ends,” he said. “I still feel I have a lot left in the tank.”
Trammell spoke to hundreds of students Tuesday morning at the Richmond Academy gymnasium. One of the themes he kept telling the crowd of teenagers: Follow your dream.
Trammell was a utility runner for Southwest Dekalb High School in Atlanta as a freshman. After watching a friend compete in hurdles one weekend, Trammell thought he’d never be able to succeed in the event. A few days later, his track coach told him he wanted him to run the hurdles.
Trammell practiced every day for a month. He was the last one off the track and the last one out of the weight room. In his first junior varsity meet, he won the event in record fashion.
“From there, it just built my confidence,” Trammell said. “It showed me that I could do this.”
Trammell built a successful career, winning a pair of world indoor championships in the 60-meter hurdles, along with three runner-up finishes in the 110-meter hurdles at the world championships. He competed in the 2008 Olympics but was forced to withdraw after injuring his hamstring in the preliminary rounds. This year, Trammell planned to compete in the U.S. Olympic trials, but he suffered a groin injury during a meet and was forced to sit out.
Now, he is pursuing a new career born of an idea he formed in 2005. In 2007, he started a small athletic clothing label. As he entered the 2009 season, Trammell sought a new clothing line after an eight-year run with Mizuno.
“I had already made some things,” he said. “I thought if we didn’t have anything done by my first meet, I’m just going to wear my stuff. Four years later, I’m still wearing my stuff.”
As he prepares to compete in the 2013 track season, Trammell is trying to get the word out about his Trackstsar Apparel.
“It’s difficult to do two full-time jobs, but that’s what I’m doing,” he said. “I’m going to continue to promote my line.”