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Ballard grad Ronnie Baker thankful for Olympic journey

Published: Jun. 24, 2021 at 12:09 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 24, 2021 at 3:45 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - A very thankful and very fast Louisvillian is on Team USA. Track and Field Olympian Ronnie Baker finished second in the 100 meter dash at the U.S. Track and Field trials to punch his ticket to Tokyo. Now, he wants more.

“I want a gold medal,” Baker said.

Baker grabbed that second-place finish with a personal best time of 9.85 seconds to get the coveted spot in the Olympic Games. The Louisvillian tells us, it still hasn’t quite hit him.

>>RELATED STORY: Ballard grad qualifies for 2020 Tokyo Olympics

“I was kind of relieved,” he smiled, “it was like, okay it’s done.”

Baker was guided early on by Ballard High track coach Don Goodwin who helped him realize he could be one of the fastest men alive. Surprisingly, a lot of cheese contributed.

“He was always challenging me to run faster and I remember he actually incentivized us with a big pizza party he was going to throw if I run a certain time,” Baker remembered of his coach and friend. “He would say, ‘and I’ll throw the whole team a pizza party,’ and I was like ‘sweet!’”

Baker also credits coaches and teammates at Texas Christian University for his success. The school has the most student athletes running under 10 seconds in its collegiate sprint history and it is where Baker earned two national titles. After hamstring and bone injuries kept him out of championships the past six years, Baker, 27, leaned on one thing.

“The biggest thing for me is just lots of prayer because there have been plenty of times when I just wake up and I don’t want to go run,” Baker said. “I love it, but there are things in life when things just get hard.”

With those hard times behind him, Baker has two chances for gold in the 100-meter dash and the 4x100 relay.

“Now being healthy and being able to make the Olympic team and be an Olympian, it’s so awesome,” Baker said, “so I just always trusted God that he was going to make it happen.”

Speaking directly to the camera in the hope that friends and family in his beloved 502 area code are watching back home the track and field Olympian said, “I love you guys and I’m super excited to represent Team USA and bring home the gold medal for you guys and the City of Louisville.”

Baker leaves for Tokyo July 24. You can watch his competitions at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games on WAVE 3 News and NBC.

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