A race is a work of art that people can look at and be affected in as many ways they're capable of understanding.
I like to be able to go out to dinner once in a while. I like to be able to drive my MG up the McKenzie River on a weekday afternoon. I like to be able to pay my bills on time.
Why shouldn't I do what I want to do... I'm an American citizen.
Coos Bay is a sports-minded town. You had to be an athlete to be somebody.
American athletes, especially distance runners, are at a big disadvantage against the rest of the world. We're expected to live by all the rules, like not being able to coach, but still train and make our own living.
The AAU doesn't care about the athletes; why should I care about them?
If I lose forcing the pace all the way, well, at least I can live with myself. But if it's a slow pace, and I get beaten by a kicker who leaches off the front, then I'll always wonder, 'What if...?'
Somebody may beat me, but they are going to have to bleed to do it.
My philosophy is that I'm an artist. I perform an art not with a paint brush or a camera. I perform with bodily movement. Instead of exhibiting my art in a museum or a book or on canvas, I exhibit my art in front of the multitudes.
Some people create with words or with music or with a brush and paints. I like to make something beautiful when I run. I like to make people stop and say, 'I've never seen anyone run like that before.' It's more than just a race, it's a style. It's doing something better than anyone else. It's being creative.
People say I should be running for a gold medal for the old red, white and blue and all that bull, but it's not gonna be that way.
Every once in a while I think, 'What am I doing out here running, busting myself up? Life could be so much easier. The other guys are out having fun, doing other things, why not me?'
When people go to a track meet, they're looking for something, a world record, something that hasn't been done before. You get all this magnetic energy, people focusing on one thing at the same time. I really get excited about it. It makes me want to compete even more. It makes it all worthwhile, all the hours of hard work.
To hell with love of country - I compete for myself.
If the Olympics come around, and I'm in shape, then I'll compete. But I won't be representing the United States; I'll be representing myself.
If I want to go to Europe and get thrashed by the Europeans, that's my business. Every race I lose I learn from and get tougher.
I knew I had to show everybody that I could excel at something. But I didn't know what.
A lot of people run a race to see who is fastest. I run to see who has the most guts, who can punish himself into exhausting pace, and then at the end, punish himself even more.
This is my last year at Oregon, and it means a lot to me. The people have been great to me up there, so if I have to run three races to win the Pac-8 title, I'll do it. Oh, sure, I'll probably be tired, but the people shouting will carry me across the finish line.
World records at 19. I don't want that. Later, yes. And when it comes, I'll learn to live with it, but it won't be my first love.