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UT-Austin Runner Tweets Her Olympic Aspirations Into Existence

If this doesn’t inspire you, what will?

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EUGENE, OR - JULY 02: Morolake Akinosun and Ariana Washington run in the first round of the Women's 100 Meter's Dash during the 2016 U.S. Olympic Track & Field Team Trials at Hayward Field on July 2, 2016 in Eugene, Oregon.
(Photo by Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images)

Five years ago, then-seventeen-year-old Morolake Akinosun tweeted about her plans for 2016: becoming a college graduate and competing in the Olympics. Akinosun said she’d forgotten about that tweet until Timehop—an app that shows you your social media activity from that day in years past—reminded her of it. It turns out that she had pretty accurately predicted her accomplishments. 

The sprinter took to Twitter again to re-promote the old tweet with an update, stating that she would be graduating from the University of Texas in Austin in December and competing in the Olympics in just a few days. The new tweet quickly gained attention, and as of publishing it currently has over 200,000 retweets and 370,000 likes on twitter.

The thing that resonates about Akinosun’s tweets is their demonstration of being able to speak your own greatness into existence. It brings to mind Octavia Butler, another black woman who wrote down her predictions for her future. But though Akinosun’s two internet missives tell a short and sweet story about determination and accomplishment, they don’t even begin to cover the amount of work she’s put in during the period between them.

“It wasn’t always easy, and no one knows the work that I put in the five years in between the two tweets,” Akinosun told BuzzFeed in an interview. “I put in a lot, a lot, a lot of hard work over the course of the five years, and I went after my dream.”

So what has happened during the five years after Akinosun first tweeted her 2016 goals? By the time she graduated Waubonsie Valley High School in Illinois, she was the national record holder in the 200-meter dash, a member of a national record holding 4×100 meter relay team and a 2011 Amateur Athletic Junior Olympic 100-meter and 200-meter champion. In 2012, she became the Illinois state champion in the 100-meter dash with a state record-setting time.

The University of Texas at Austin wasn’t the first school Akinosun chose to attend. During her freshmen year at the University of Illinois (2012 through 2013), Akinosun finished as runner-up in the 100-meter dash and the 4×100 meter relay at the Big Ten Outdoor Meet, was on relay teams that dominated the Drake Relays, and was ultimately named Illinois Female Newcomer of the Year.

In 2013, Akinosun followed her track coach, Tonja Buford-Bailey, to UT-Austin where she spent the next three years winning track awards and setting records as part of the Longhorn track and field team. Just a few highlights from her time at UT: being a two-time 4×400 relay NCAA Champion, winning the gold medal at the 2015 Pan American Games in the 4×100 meter relay, and being one of two women in history to place back-to-back in four events at the NCAA Outdoor meet. A full record of Akinosun’s accomplishments are available on her Texas sports profile page. On July 3, at the U.S. Olympic trials in Eugene, Oregon, Akinosun added another accomplishment to her list by coming in fourth place during the finals in the women’s 100-meter dash and qualifying for the Rio Olympics.

“When I crossed the finish line in Eugene a few weeks ago, it was sort of like disbelief… and I then realized I was really going to the Olympics and I started crying,” Akinosun told BuzzFeed.

Akinosun plans to graduate from UT-Austin in December with a degree in exercise science. Along with 24 other current and former Longhorns, Akinosun will be participating in the 2016 Olympics in Rio where she’ll serve as an alternate in the women’s 100-meter dash on Friday, August 12, and compete in the women’s 4×100 meter relay on Thursday, August 18.

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