TAYLOR, Texas (KXAN) — Fred Kerley will run in the 100-meter dash at the Tokyo Olympics. The 26-year-old from Taylor says the journey to success hasn’t always been an easy one, but he has done his best to stay focused.
Kerley finished third at the U.S. Olympic Trials in Eugene, Oregon, with a time of 9.68 seconds, just .06 seconds behind the winner Trayvon Bromwell. He missed qualifying for the 200-meter dash by .06 seconds, finishing fourth in 19.9 seconds.
At five years old, his aunt Virginia and his uncle Ricky adopted Kerley and his siblings after his mother was no longer in the picture and his father was in and out of jail.
“She means a lot because if she wouldn’t have adopted me, I wouldn’t be sitting here talking to you today,” he explained.
Kerley is grateful for his family, especially his aunt who has become his biggest supporter and biggest fan both on and off the track.
Taylor High School’s former track coach Mike Tennill made sure to keep Kerley on the right path. supporting him through his athletic career.
“He was a great competitor, great runner, had a great attitude,” he said. “(He) has excelled far beyond my wishes and dreams.”
The high school’s former coaches and school district leaders got together to fund a billboard outside the high school in honor of Kerley.
“They’re all behind him, they’re fired up about him, he’s putting Taylor on the map,” Tennill said about the community.