Walter Dix is gunning for gold this summer.
After a standout performance in the recent University of Miami Hurricanes Alumni Invitational Track and Field Meet, it appears that the 30-year-old Dix could be on the fast track to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in August.
Dix, a 2004 graduate of Coral Springs High School, captured the 100-meter dash in what he described as a surprisingly quick time of just over 10 seconds. His 200-meter time of 20.25 also exceeded his expectations.
“The 10.03 (in the 100) was my second run this season, so it was pretty fast [for so early] in the year,” said Dix, who captured two bronze medals in the 2008 Olympic Games – 100-meter (9.91) and 200-meter (19.98). “The time in the 200 in Miami really shocked me.”
Dix recently moved to Tampa to elevate his training and conditioning regimen.
“I am focused on getting stronger and being able to run the way I used to with better technique,” added Dix, who pulled a muscle while running in a 100-meter qualifying round during the Olympic Trials in 2012 and failed to make the team.
“It was pretty tough not making the Olympic team that year, but it went by pretty fast,” Dix said.
Dix, an 18-time National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I All-American at Florida State University, holds a personal-best 200-meter time of 19.53, which he achieved in 2011. That ranks him second all-time in American history behind only Michael Johnson’s 19.32 at the 1996 Olympic Games.
“It’s been a big grind,” said Dix, who graduated from FSU in 2008. “I basically put everything away and have just been focused on training. I have not been spending time with family and friends, and I put my MBA program on hold to concentrate on making the Olympic team. I have done nothing but eat, sleep and breathe track and field.”
There is a sense of urgency for Dix, who realizes this could be his last shot. There are few Olympic sprinters at age 34 or older. He believes he is in his prime.
Since 2011, Dix has organized the annual Walter Dix Invitational relays, which take place each February at his alma mater in Coral Springs.
“The older I get, the more I appreciate everything,” said Dix, who was nicknamed Superman by his classmates at Coral Springs. “When I am running in an international meet, I am not doing it for myself. I am doing it for everyone who watched me growing up in Coral Springs right through to when I ran at the University of Miami and beyond.”
Dix loves that he is able to give back to the community through events like the Walter Dix Invitational meet. He also speaks at local schools and does Thanksgiving drives around the state.
“If you are not helping others move forward, then you are part of the problem,” Dix said. “It never was a second thought for me to run charity races in Florida or do charity drives. The money we raise goes back to the kids.”
Dix said chasing the dream of once again running in the Olympics this year is still very difficult. He trains weekdays and runs on the weekends. During the week, Dix gets in a morning run, goes to his sports doctor for a massage and quick check-up, and will then run in the afternoon before doing a weightlifting session.
The Olympic Trials will take place July 2 to 10 in Eugene, Oregon. Dix has already qualified to compete in the 200-meter dash and is still working on the 100-meter dash qualifying time.
“It would be big to make it back to the Olympics,” Dix said. “My goal is to get back there and win higher than a bronze medal. It would be a stepping stone to get back on the podium. It would be a great feeling – a feeling of achievement.”