PROVO, Utah – BYU men's track assistant coach Leonard Myles-Mills made his third trip to the Olympics this summer, representing his native country of Ghana as a coach for the national track team.
The Olympic coaching experience was a first for Myles-Mills, who ran the 100-meter dash and 4x100-meter relay for Ghana in the 2000 and 2004 summer games. Not only was it a new experience, Myles-Mills said it was also quite unexpected.
"I didn't know they were going to select me to take the team to the Olympics," Myles-Mills said. "I thought I was just going to take the team to the African Championships and come back home, but they said they wanted me to go to the Olympics, so of course I accepted."
After the invitation was offered, Myles-Mills had two days to pack his things and prepare for a two-week camp before heading to London. He said despite having to spend nearly a month and a half away from his family, he knew he had their support, and they were excited for his opportunity.
"I told my family, 'I'm retired, but I'm not out of the game,'" he said. "It was a long time to be gone, but on the whole it was a great experience."
Having competed in Sydney and Athens, Myles-Mills said attending the London games as a coach allowed him to more fully relish the Olympic experience.
"Being a coach, I felt like I could enjoy it more," he said. "Before, it was solely on me to get things done. This time, I was trying to interact more with the athletes to prepare them well and then I could just sit back to watch and enjoy it. There was nothing to stress about."
When asked about his favorite memories from London, Myles-Mills is quick to refer to the opening and closing ceremonies.
"That was definitely one of the best experiences out there,” he said. “It's what I base my experience at the games around. It's all about making it fun."
Mason Porter is a Sports Information Director for BYU Athletic Communications. Contact him at email@example.com.
Copyright 2016, Deseret News Publishing Company