A Champion For Another Cause
It's been 16 years since he won a gold medal for the United States. Derrick Adkins knew the high of being in the spotlight — standing on the podium and the interview on the Today Show.
But now he is as anonymous on the subway as every else. As he toils away at The Armory — making sure the next generation of track athletes take advantage of the educational opportunities before them — many have no idea that hidden away in his home is that gold medal.
"It's not easy to peak in your 20s, to do the most significant thing of your life in your 20s," he recently told Alex Silverman of Newsday. "But it's something we have to deal with."
"There's just a handful of household names coming out of any Olympic Games, and they're gonna make millions," said Adkins. "The rest of us, even if we won golds, go back into obscurity."
But being unknown, that doesn't mean unimportant, for Adkins' stamp is all over the Armory College Prep program at The Armory. It now serves more than 200 students a year. After all, he oversaw it for five years before handing off to Aliann Pompey, herself now a four-time Olympian. He continues to serve as a consultant.
The program provides SAT tutoring, college counseling, the understanding of financial aid and a network for those seeking scholarship opportunities.
"I get joy and fulfillment out of working with young people because there's something to look forward to," Adkins continued with Newsday. "You see the young people progressing pretty quickly in both their athletic careers and in their academics, if you're able to motivate them well enough."
If paying it forward is obscure, we wish it on every Olympian.