Q & A with Wisconsin's Suzy Favor-Hamilton

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As a Big Ten student-athlete, what were some of the life lessons you learned throughout your collegiate career?
"Being a Big Ten athlete, first of all, was such a wonderful honor.  I cherish the opportunity I had the to compete at Wisconsin.  I learned so many lessons.  One of the greatest lessons I learned was working and getting along with different people, and how important it was to have a great work ethic.  Sports have also given me determination and discipline, which carry over to my life today."

Talk about the demands of balancing schoolwork with being a Big Ten student-athlete...
"It was extremely hard balancing athletics and academics.  It took a lot of discipline. 
I learned very quickly that I needed to study a lot more than I was at first when I approached the University of Wisconsin.  I would have to say that time management is the most important aspect to balancing life as a student-athlete." 

Looking back on your collegiate career, what are some of the things you are most proud of?
"Looking back at my collegiate career, I'm very proud of my nine NCAA titles because no other woman has done that.  That's always kind of special when you know you're the only one out there who has done it."

What advice would you give to aspiring female student-athletes?
"I would encourage young girls to pursue their dreams and try to become a student-athlete because it will help you in life no matter what area you decide to go in."

A few years ago, you reunited with your college coach Peter Tegen.  What were some of the things instilled in you while competing at Wisconsin that push you in your running today?
"Working with my coach in college and beyond, I've learned from him this incredible work ethic that is unlike any other coach I've ever worked with has taught me.  It's just amazing.  I think a coach-athlete relationship has to work in many ways.  You have to have a trust.  It's almost like having a partner in life; you need to trust them and have confidence in this person.  With my coach, I do that.  I have confidence and trust in what he's telling me to do."

With 15 years of professional competition to your credit, what did you learn as a collegiate athlete to build such endurance mentally and physically?
"Competing in college athletics taught me a lot.  For me, I won a lot of events and it gave me such confidence going out into the world and competing at a new level.  I had this extreme confidence and self-esteem that I could take on the world, and that's something that my experience with the university gave me."

What does it mean for you to have the Big Ten Female Athlete of the Year award named after you and the conference's top honor associated with your legacy?
"I would have to say that might be one of the best honors that I have received.  Usually these things don't happen when you're as young as I am, and to have the award named after me, just leaves me completely elated."

You were named the NCAA's Most Outstanding Track & Field Student-Athlete of the past 25 years.  Was there a moment or competition during your time at Wisconsin where you realized you had a chance to make such a significant impact on women's athletics?
"I think for me it was my final race, when I won the 800 and my ninth NCAA title.  I think that's when it really hit me that I had done something pretty unique and that I might have a big impact on future female athletes."

What are your hopes for the next 25 years in Big Ten Women's Athletics?
"I think the Big Ten has already made huge strides for women's athletics and it's wonderful.  I want to see more things happening for women and for athletics and to see the progression of opportunities continue for young girls."