Vogue Magazine | May 2014
Though Carmelita Jeter is the fastest woman in the world, she was late to start as a runner. It was her high school basketball coach who suggested she switch from court to lane, a bit of a shock considering that she had grown up playing basketball. “Those were my best kid memories,” says the California-raised sprinter of the neighborhood games she and her brother Eugene, a pro basketball player, hosted every Saturday at their home.
Jeter caught on, and up, fast. She was a six-time all-American at Cal State, Dominguez Hills, but a series of hamstring injuries slowed her down, and in 2008, she failed to make the U.S. team, causing a moment of soul searching and retooling. A year later, that translated into a 10.64-second 100-meter run at the Shanghai Golden Grand Prix, in China—the fastest time ever after the late Florence Griffith Joyner.
At 32 years old, Jeter may have both her first and last chance at an Olympic gold, but she considers a spot on the team in itself a reward. “It means that one day I will have my name in the history books.”