She was a somewhat surprising gold medalist in the discus in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, but about eight months ago Stephanie Brown-Trafton got another gold medal — a baby daughter.
“She is my other gold medal. I have a picture of her and my medal together and it is the sweetest picture ever,” said Brown-Trafton during a break at the Maximum Velocity Track & Field Academy at Centre College. “It is awesome to have her. She is God’s child. Any time she acts up, I say, ‘Hey God, your kid is acting up.’”
Fortunately, her daughter didn’t “act up” during an airplane ride from California to Chicago Wednesday and then what turned into a longer-than-expected 9-hour drive to Danville with her aunt, who recently moved from California to Chicago.
“She played with toys and looked out the window a little bit and was really good,” Brown-Trafton said. “But when you are traveling with a baby, you need to add on a couple of extra hours and then we hit road construction. We had an interesting time but we made do and everyone is very nice here. I am very thankful to be here and my aunt, who we call Nana because my mom passed away when I was young and she is like my mom and my baby’s grandmother, is here to make sure she has a good time.”
That allowed Brown-Trafton, 34, to focus on sharing her expertise on throws with camp participants. She won the discus in Beijing with a throw of 212 feet, 5 inches and became only the second American woman — and first since the Great Depression — to do so. She is also the current American record holder in the discus with a throw of 222-3. She was seventh in the 2012 Olympics in London and also competed in 2004 in Athens.
Brown-Trafton is also an accomplished shot putter, competing in the 2004 US Olympic Trials.
“It is just amazing to see another generation of throwers or runners or jumpers. This sport is all encompassing. There are so many events. You can be fast or more endurance or big body mass for throwers or tiny distance runners. Everybody can do track and field,” she said.
“There is an event for everyone. Anybody can do it and I feel these kids have so much potential whether jumping, running or throwing. They can do anything, especially with bodies like the Energizer Bunny. They have boundless energy that I wish I had.”
She had an ice pack taped to her leg as she talked about the camp.
“When you have a kid everything changes, including your body. My hips have had to make an adjustment on top of tendinitis in my left hip. It feels actually better when I start working out,” she laughed and said. “It takes a little while to warm up, but then it is okay. Ice helps a lot, too. Just basically having a baby and getting older makes it a bit harder.”
However, not so hard to keep her from wanting to pursue another love — hunting.
“Right now there not much going on in California except for wild boar that we hunt year round,” Brown-Trafton, who had a college basketball scholarship before a knee injury ended that career and settled for being a six-time NCAA All-American in track, said. “The deer season is coming up quickly for archery. I don’t do that but would love to. My husband is more of that.
“But hopefully this year I will be able to get out and experience the hunting season like normal. Most years I am either traveling overseas during the hunting season or preparing for the World Championships or Olympics. This year I plan a full hunting season and it will be interesting to get out there and see what I can put in the freezer. Most of our meat comes from the wild outdoors and I attribute a lot of my health and success to eating healthy, especially with the meat
“My husband got me into hunting. I was from a family of outdoorsy people. My grandpa was a ranger in Yosemite and my dad took me target shooting when I was young, so I knew how to handle a gun. But I never got my hunting license until I met my husband. We hope to go around the world doing some hunting expeditions maybe to New Zealand.”