Seymour not set on 2020 Olympics

Seymour not set on 2020 Olympics

RANTOUL — Don’t pencil Pedrya Seymour in for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics just yet.

Yes, the redshirt junior Illinois hurdler made the unprecedented move of qualifying for her first Olympics four months after first running the 100 hurdles competitively.

And yes, she dropped a new personal record in the semifinal (12.64 seconds) and came within a final-hurdle clip in the final of possibly winning the bronze medal and denying Team USA its first-ever sweep.

But running — and running fast — isn’t all Seymour is interested in. She’s not ready to commit to another four-year training block for the next Olympics if she doesn’t plan on extending her running career that far.

“My plan was to be a mortician, actually,” Seymour said. “That’s what I want to do. I like doing hair and makeup and stuff like that, and my mom didn’t want me to be a cosmetologist. My dad, he has a lot of friends who are morticians, and I hang around the funeral home with them. I like it. It’s a cool job.”

Seymour arrived back in Champaign on Sunday evening. Monday, the communications major returned to class for the start of the 2016-17 academic year. No special dispensation for Olympic athletes, apparently.

Seymour said she’s been stopped on campus for a picture since her return from the Olympics. And for an athlete that admitted she doesn’t necessarily like the spotlight, she did a poor job of avoiding it by qualifying for an Olympic final as a 21-year-old and coming within 0.15 seconds of a medal.

“I probably would have gotten a bronze medal or came fourth for sure,” Seymour said about clipping the last hurdle. “I knew I was going to medal. I just knew that. It just goes to show me that pride and arrogance is right there. I needed that to keep me hungry because it was right there.”

Sixth-place finish aside, there was plenty of interest in Seymour after the final.

“I remember after I ran the media and a lot of people were coming interviewing me and calling me,” she said. “I actually took sick. My blood pressure went sky high. For real. I had to go to the hospital. I couldn’t take it. I guess I was too excited and my adrenaline was pumping.”

Seymour’s Olympic experience was certainly track-centric, with practice and treatment her main priorities from the time she arrived the day before the Opening Ceremony to the start of track and field competition in the second week of the games.

But she enjoyed her time in Rio de Janeiro.

“The experience was really good,” Seymour said. “I had a good time, no complaints. Although the media had a lot of stuff to say about Rio, I had zero complaints. I went to see the Christ the Redemeer statue. I think that was the coolest thing I did down there.”