Pacific Association USATF

PA Youth Cross Country & Track and Field

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Kellie Wells, America’s Newest Track Superstar, Is No Longer Running From Her Past



Don’t tell anyone, he said.


For four years, she heard that from him.


Don’t tell anyone.


And for years, she didn’t tell a soul.


Then, one night in 10th grade, she decided she was going to defy this man. She was going to tell someone. She was tired of being afraid and tired of being hurt. She was tired of being a victim.


That night she said goodbye to her childhood bedroom, and said goodbye to abuse.




Kellie Wells is 28 now. She is one of the top hurdlers in the world, and one of the best hopes for Team USA in the 2012 Olympics. Recovered from a devastating hamstring tear during U.S. Trials in 2008, Wells is running faster than ever. Last weekend, she became the U.S. national champion in the 100-meter hurdles with a 12.50 time in the final, announcing her candidacy to be one of the best American stories at the London Games. For the first time in August, at World Championships, she will be wearing the Red, White and Blue of the U.S.A.


“I am so excited to represent my country,” Wells says. “To make a U.S. team is such an honor and I’m looking forward to making my country, friends, and family proud.”


And yet the nightmare is just as alive inside her as the dream. Sometimes she wonders if there would be a dream without the nightmare. Would she have made it to the precipice of Olympic glory without being on the precipice of personal destruction?


Could she chase gold this way if not for all those years when the demons chased her?




Wells’ chase started in middle school in Virginia; that’s where she started running after her older sister, Tonni. The Wells family all ran, in fact, whether long-distance or sprints. “The sprinter