Kate Grace can add to Team USA’s impressive gold medal haul by winning the women’s 800-meter final on Saturday. Here are a few facts you might not know about the one they call Amazing Grace.
Track Running Was Her Second Sport
Before competing in athletics, Kate was a promising youth soccer player at the Marlborough School in Los Angeles. David Collicutt, her high school soccer coach, saw her potential at a young age. Jimmie Grant, Marlborough’s track and field coach, saw it too.
It did not take long before Kate fell in love with sprinting. However, Grant noted that Kate was initially holding back her stride.
“One of the top runners on my team was a good friend of hers and Kate wouldn’t pass her. [She] wouldn’t beat her in the races. She’d just get behind her and let her friend go on and win the race,” Grant shared to Los Angeles Times. “We got to the league finals and I walked up to her and said, ‘You might as well go ahead and do it. It’s OK to go by her and it’s better to go by her now so she can get used to it.’”
Kate Grace Has Good Genes
Kate’s mother is Kathy Smith, a popular fitness personality in the 1980s. Her father is Steve Grace, a former community television station manager for LA36.
Smith moved to Los Angeles from Hawaii in 1976. Having already competed at the Honolulu Marathon, Smith tried her luck at aerobics. She enrolled herself in one of the first women’s aerobics classes in the United States. She shared classes with prominent health junkies Jane Fonda and Barbra Streisand.
The following year, Smith was already teaching her own aerobics classes. She eventually earned a regular guesting on “The Merv Griffin Show.” In the mid-1990s, young Kate would sometimes join her mother performing yoga poses on camera, as per New York Times.
Road To The Final
Kate barely qualified for the women’s 800-meter final. She finished third during Thursday’s semifinal with a time of 1:58.79. Kate beat here personal best just to qualify. It’s safe to say she is in high spirits heading into Saturday’s finale, which starts at 8:15 p.m. ET.