Florida runner TJ Holmes hoping to earn spot on Olympic team after missing out in 2016

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TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — The summer Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan are just about a month away, but many track and field athletes are still waiting to qualify.

Olympic trials for Track and Field start next week. TJ Holmes, a native of St. Petersburg, Florida, is one of the runners trying to snag a spot on the Olympic team.

Holmes’ quick strides earned him two spots at the upcoming Olympic trials in Eugene, Oregon.

“I’ll run the 400 meter which is the first week, and after that, the 400 meter hurdles,” Holmes explained.

That means two chances to make his dream of becoming an Olympian a reality.

If his track record is any indication, his chances are good.

“I’ve accomplished a lot. I’ve been top five in the world every single year, so there’s really nothing to complain about,” said Holmes.

The runner hopes his speed will earn him a spot in the Olympics this summer, especially after missing out once before.

“I tried out in 2016. The furthest I made it was to the semi-finals. I wish it went by time, because I would have made the finals. But it went by placement, so this caused me to have to wait an extra five years. That’s not a bad thing because I’ve been continuing to drop my time,” he said. “I’ve been perfecting my craft and I know this is going to be a great year for me.”

The pandemic pushed his dreams back even further, but Holmes considers it a blessing. He has built up his name through modeling for companies like Nike, photography, coaching other athletes and even launching his own clothing line.

Holmes said he’s perfecting his training and feels stronger than ever. He hopes the Olympics will be his greatest achievement.

“Of course being number one – it’s definitely a great accomplishment and that’s the goal,” he said. “And I know it’s going to come soon enough.”

Holmes said he’s been running since he was 4 years old and taught himself how to hurdle in high school.

“One day my coach put up a hurdle and I just jumped over it and he was like ‘hey that wasn’t too bad.’ So it went from there. I used to watch a lot of YouTube videos – I kind of learned how to get a lot better,” said Holmes.

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