Preparing for the Moment with Dawn Harper-Nelson

Dawn Harper-Nelson is a gold medalist in the 2008 Olympic Games and a silver medalist in the 2012 Olympic Games. She is also a mother of two and actively involved in coaching and has a truly awesome story to share. Join us for this conversation as we delve into Dawn’s Olympic experiences, her journey in track and field, and the challenges she faced, both as an athlete and a mother.

Dawn shares some insights into her training under coach Bobby Kersee, highlighting the mental preparation he instilled in athletes for the grand stage. The episode explores Dawn’s experiences dealing with setbacks, overcoming injuries, and the mental resilience required in high-stakes competitions.

Our conversation also offers a glimpse into Dawn’s personal life and the support that she receives from her family and her teammates, both of which have helped her through difficult times such as having received hateful, racist comments from people. We touch upon Dawn’s perspective on motherhood, balancing training with raising her two children, and the challenges she faced in reclaiming her identity after becoming a mom.

Listen as Dawn shares her thoughts on what it means to “prepare for the moment,” coaching, the importance of mentorship, and her desire to inspire the next generation. She reflects on the intersection of faith, mental health, and the lessons learned through her athletic journey. This is such a candid and inspiring conversation with Dawn Harper Nelson that you will not want to miss. Dawn’s journey serves as a source of motivation and empowerment for athletes and parents alike.

In this episode:

[02:44] Dawn discusses her two children and what they’re like.

[5:45] At 12, Dawn shifted from gymnastics to track, initially struggling but persistently triumphing over challenges.

[7:51] Despite her shyness, Dawn’s mom supported her in sports, while her dad emphasized humility and hard work.

[9:07] Hear Dawn go into more detail about her Olympic experience.

[11:18] Coach Bobby Kersee excels in preparing athletes mentally for the grand stage through unique drills and simulations.

[13:43] Being a creature of habit, Dawn believes in meticulous preparation, checking off details to handle unforeseen variables and disruptions.

[16:25] Dawn shares how despite setbacks before the 2012 Olympics, she focused on resilience and triumphed in a crucial race.

[21:04] High moments can be great, but we also learn from the low moments.

[23:24] Dawn discusses her faith and how it helps her through.

[25:00] Dealing with external pressure and hurtful comments challenged Dawn’s self-perception, but her family support helped her navigate it.

[29:15] Dawn shares how she has learned to appreciate her inner strength and embrace self-love.

[30:37] Reflecting on her love for diverse food experiences, Dawn cherishes certain memories that helped her realize how big and multicultural the world is.

[34:04] Dawn and her husband knew each other in high school but did not date, and she shares how they met.

[35:21] Navigating dating restrictions in high school led Dawn to a thoughtful understanding of expectations and priorities.

[37:55] Dawn expresses her gratitude for having a husband who shares her passion for track and field.

[41:15] Dawn feels that being a mother is more difficult than being an Olympic athlete and explains why.

[42:42] Dawn is a big fan of Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and would love to sit down and talk with her.

[43:23] Dawn answers some fun rapidfire questions.

Links and Resources:

Agora Sports Network

Connect with Dawn:

Dawn on Instagram 

Dawn on Threads 

Dawn on Twitter 

Dawn on YouTube 

Connect with Carrie:

C Tolle Run

C Tolle Run Podcast

Carrie on Instagram

Carrie on Facebook

Carrie on Twitter

Carrie on LinkedIn