Kellie Wells Overcomes Adversity on Her Way to the Top
Hurdles weren't the only obstacles Kellie Wells has had to overcome on her way to emerging as the most dynamic women's track and field star since Jackie Joyner-Kersee dominated the sport in the 1980s and early '90s. After sustaining a serious hamstring injury in 2008, Wells feared she would never be able to compete again at the elite level to which she was accustomed. However, aided by her training staff, her peerless work ethic, and a little help from her favorite anabolic premium protein bar Supreme Protein, Wells has not only returned to the sport she loves, but posted a world-leading time of 7.85 seconds in the 60-meter hurdles. Amazingly, Kellie currently holds the 5 fastest times in the world so far this year in the 60-meter hurdles. She has also tied a US record in the 55-meter hurdles established by Joyner Kersee over twenty years ago.
We talked to Kellie about her astounding comeback, her recent accomplishments, and what it feels like to be compared to Joyner-Kersee, the woman Sports Illustrated once honored as The Greatest Female Athlete of All Time. We also got her to reveal some of the training tips that enabled her to reach the absolute peak of the track and field world.
Kellie Wells: I was so amazed and pleased with my time! A personal best and a world leading time in my first European race is amazing. I knew training had been going well, but to finally put a clock on it feels indescribable. I owe everyone around me for my success. I could have never done this by myself. My medical staff has helped me stay healthy, my coach has helped me stay fit and focused, my training group keeps me motivated and my family and friends keep me sane. I always knew that I had it in me, but to see it come to fruition only drives me to want to lower my time even more. Now there is a target on my back and the rest of the world will be gunning for me, but I welcome the challenge!
ProSource: You also recently tied the American Record in the 55m Hurdles set in 1989 by Jackie Joyner-Kersee. What does this accomplishment mean to you both personally and professionally?
Kellie Wells: Jackie Joyner-Kersee is my all-time favorite athlete. She was and still is amazing in everything she does. She was a fierce competitor and a wonderful role model for young girls aspiring to play a sport. I remember when she played for the Richmond Rage, a basketball team in Richmond, Virginia, and I would go to every game to watch her play and wait to get her autograph. To have my name beside hers in the record books is an honor to me personally because I look up to her even now as an adult.
Follow us on
for a chance to win these products!
Kellie Wells: Well I would have to say I owe everything to God. He has opened so many doors for me and made a way out of no way, so I know this comes from him. But also I will have to say my coach, Dennis Mitchell, and my training group have elevated our level of training this year. Everyone who trains with us is so like-minded and we all want to succeed.
ProSource: Where does your passion and drive for sprinting and hurdling come from?
Kellie Wells: Well, it comes from my desire to win! I love competition and I think sprinting and hurdling are the oldest forms of it. I have an older sister who ran track and as a young girl I always wanted to emulate her, so whatever sport she did, I did. I fell in love with track and the hurdles so I stuck with it.
ProSource: What key attributes do you possess that have made you such a successful athlete?
Kellie Wells: To put it simply, I have heart. A big heart. I'm a ferocious competitor with a will to win. I possess something you can't teach and I think that gives me a leg up on my competition. I still feel like I have a lot to prove, so I don't get comfortable with certain accomplishments I may have achieved.
ProSource: When you were recovering from your injured hamstring in 2009, you had nightmares and were afraid to compete again for fear of re-injury. What advice can you give others to overcome the emotional aspects of an injury?
Kellie Wells: After my injury in 2008, getting back on the track in 2009 was frightening. I was afraid to sprint, to hurdle or to do anything that really engaged my hamstring. I was so afraid I would tear it again. I would come into hurdle days dreading them and not wanting to even go. The hurdles seemed 10 ft. tall and 50 ft. apart. I had thoughts of quitting track and going to get a regular job, but something wouldn't let me give up. The hurdles are in my heart so I just took the whole year of 2009 to try to get back in it mentally. Some days were good and others were horrible. My family, coach, and friends were there for me every step of the way to try and help however they could. I think the mental part of my injury was so much harder than the physical part because the pain eventually went away, but I always thought about the what-ifs and they would keep me up at night. My advice to others would be to try to accept and embrace what happened and try to deal with it openly. I made the mistake of trying to keep it inside and act like I wasn't affected. I think that was a huge mistake. Talk about it. Talk about your fears and concerns and you will be free from them. Even consulting with a sport psychologist helps free you from that mental bondage.
Follow us on
for a chance to win these products!
ProSource: What tricks do you have for getting through a particularly difficult training session?
Kellie Wells: I do two things. First, I think of is how hard I know my competition is working and how I can't let them outwork me on any given day. Second, I imagine myself somewhere other than the track—like the beach, sipping a cool drink, or somewhere shopping! That helps me get through the pain.
ProSource: You've started off 2011 very strong! Has your training been different than in past years?
Kellie Wells: My 2011 season has started off in the right direction and I plan on holding and even pressing the pace. I had a different mindset coming into training this year. I wanted to push my body past certain limits and see where I could go. Also, Supreme Protein has been a major factor in my training and weight lifting, which has enabled me to become stronger and faster!
ProSource: In what ways does Supreme Protein help you boost your performance ?
Kellie Wells: I have to say, I love the Rocky Road Supreme Protein bars. They always give me a boost of energy and they taste like a candy bar. I love the feeling when I am in between sessions and I eat a bar and I feel myself become rejuvenated. We always work out on the track and then go lift weights after, and the Supreme Protein bars help keep my energy levels up as well as keep me feeling full while lifting. A perfect combination!
ProSource: With all your recent success, what is your next career goal?
Kellie Wells: To have a good showing over in Europe. I will be there for about nine days and compete three times. I want to come out with personal bests and wins. I feel so ready to go and compete! There are no indoor world championships, but I will go to U.S. Nationals and I plan on winning that. It will be my first U.S. title, but I am very excited to go achieve that.
ProSource: Good luck, Kellie!