Q & A with Auburn Track and Field Athlete Maurice Smith
Q: Talk about your experience at the 2004 Summer Olympics.
A: The Olympics was a learning experience for me. It was my first time there, so I wasn’t expecting too much out of myself. I was competing against the best guys in the world. I just wanted to go and have fun and not put too much pressure on myself. I was just happy to be at the Olympics and competing for Jamaica. It was a great learning experience for me.
Q: What has been your most memorable moment as an athlete?
A: When I qualified for the Olympics and made A-standard. I was so excited. I was calling everyone to tell them. Also at the Olympics, on the second day in the 110 hurdles, I was the underdog in my heat because all the top guys were in it. All of the guys had better times than me. I told myself that if I’m going to be in a race with some of the best guys in the world, I’m going to run a PR (personal record.) I did my best and I came in second place. Of all the decathletes, I had the second best time. I finished 14th of 40 at the Olympics so that was exciting for me.
Q: Why did you decide to come to Auburn?
A: I’ve wanted to come to Auburn since high school. One of my coaches now at Auburn, Henry Rolle, came to Jamaica my second to last year in high school. He came and talked to our high school track team. He told us all of the grades, qualifications and times we needed to get a scholarship. I started looking up information about Auburn and ever since then, I’ve wanted to come here. A lot of Jamaican athletes have left here successfully, with jobs and running track professionally. That says a lot about Auburn not just athletically but academically. It wasn’t a hard decision to make to choose Auburn over other schools.
Q: If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
A: I’m a big procrastinator. That’s something I’d like to change. I’m working on it.
Q: What is your favorite snack?
A: During the day I drink a lot of nutrition shakes. I drink those during the day and sometimes eat cereal or fruit.
Q: If you were given $1 million, what would be the first thing you would buy?
A: I really need a car. That’s the first thing I’d get.
Q: What is your dream car?
A: I like SUVs. I’ve always said that if I get the money, I’d like to get a Cadillac Escalade or a Lincoln Navigator.
Q: What do you plan to do when you graduate?
A: I’d like to do track and field professionally for a while. Hopefully things will work out. My last college meet is coming up this weekend at NCAAs. I’d like to pick up a contract and run for a while professionally after that.
Q: What do you like doing outside of school and track and field?
A: I like hanging out with my son. I like spending as much time as I can with him. I also like playing pool, soccer, basketball and hanging out with friends.
Q: Who is your role model?
A: My high school coach Herb McKenley. In high school, he always talked to me about track and field and helped me. He was once a World record holder in the 400m. He’s traveled to pretty much every part of the world. He’s a legend in track and field. A lot of track and field athletes know about him and talk highly of him. He’s always been my role model.
Q: What motivates you to go to practice track and field every day?
A: Track and field isn’t easy. You have to love it to stay in it. I’ve been doing it pretty much all of my life. I started in first or second grade, but got more serious about it high school. My goal then was to one-day make the Olympics, so that kept me going. Now that I’ve surpassed that goal, I want to be on top in the event I compete in. I need to get a professional contract so I can make money. I have a son to take care of. I’d like to be able to give back to my family. Also, I’d like to be a good role model for my son. He’s only five but I like to talk to him about things and show him that I’m being successful. That’s what keeps me going.