January 16, 2012 By admin Leave a Comment
As she prepares for the 2012 Olympics in London, we had the chance to catch up with sprinter, model and University of Southern California (USC) graduate, Carol Rodriguez, to discuss some of her influences and philanthropic missions. The following is an excerpt from the interview:
TGiS: Carol, thank you so much for taking the time to meet with us. You’re the first Olympian we’ve had the pleasure of interviewing! I know our readers would love to know, when you were growing up, who was your role model?
Carol Rodriguez: My older sister, Tameka Rodriguez, was my role model. She, too, was a runner. I used to go to her track meets and watch her run. She inspired me run track.
TGiS: It’s always nice to have a sibling as a positive influence in your life, especially considering how often you’re around them. When you think of a role model in Olympic sports, who is the first name that comes to mind?
Carol Rodriguez: Flo-Jo because she holds the world records in the both the 100m and 200m. I love to watch films of her races. She was a beautiful runner and made running look graceful and easy!
TGiS: She sure did. She was amazing on the track!
TGiS: Carol, off the track, what are your favorite ways to give back to the community?
Carol Rodriguez: Giving motivational speeches to kids and teens about making the right decisions. Sharing my personal story.
TGiS: That’s fantastic. I’m sure many of the kids you speak with look up to you and your words likely carry a lot of weight. How and when did you first get involved with volunteering?
Carol Rodriguez: I graduated with a degree in Sociology from the University of Southern California. I became involved in volunteering during my four years of undergraduate.
TGiS: I think I just heard some screams from our Trojan fans!
TGiS: Carol, I know you spend a lot of time giving back to the community. Is there a particular cause or organization that is especially important to you?
Carol Rodriguez: Until There’s a Cure, President’s Challenge Advocate that fights childhood obesity, working with Xbox to raise money to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals and their fitness initiatives for kids.
TGiS: Of all the events and organizations you’ve been a part of, is there one event or occasion that stands out in your mind while volunteering that really made an impact in your life?
Carol Rodriguez: While I was at USC, I did a project in raising awareness about the high percentage of homeless people living in downtown on skid row. I went out into the streets of skid row and interviewed some of the homeless people. They shared their stories of how they led normal lives just as you and I. They all had something in common which was that they had a major event take place that caused a downward spiral that they could not recover from which led them to becoming homeless. The purpose of me sharing their stories was to get people to see that they once led normal lives and that it was important for students, like myself, to get involved in volunteering at local shelters and donating clothes.
TGiS: Wow, that’s pretty powerful stuff. A lot of times, as adults, we sometimes take a lot of things for granted. But, I’m sure that project made an impression which, like you said, led you to get more involved in the community.
TGiS: Carol, one last question. What advice do you have for kids who look up to you & dream to one day be in your shoes?
Carol Rodriguez: It is very important to believe in yourself. Don’t let anyone or anything discourage you from achieving your goals. No matter how tough things get, never give up. Just keep going.
■For more information on Carol’s USC project, visit:
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