The Los Angeles-born Rodriguez, whose father is of Puerto Rican descent, holds five national records for the Caribbean island – in the indoor 60 meters and outdoor 100 meters, as well as the 200 meters, 400 meters and 4×100-meter relay. A 2008 Olympian, she won two medals at the 2010 Central American and Caribbean games, and was named the 2006 Women’s Athlete of the Year for Puerto Rico. She is also an ambassador for first lady Michelle Obama’s campaign against childhood obesity. She is currently embarking on her return to the Olympics.
We had the opportunity sit down with two-time Olympian Carol Rodriquez and talk about her career, Olympic experience, and what plans she has for her future.
é: You are two-time Olympian; can you describe how it felt to compete in your first Olympic competition? Do you get the same feeling during all of your competitions?
CRod: My first Olympic competition back in 2008 at Beijing was wonderful. I just graduated from University of Southern California and finished competing at the NCAA championships and although I was injured going into the Olympics, it still was an awesome experience. Beijing was definitely a learning experience that better prepared me for London.
Every competition is different and I don’t get the same feeling in every competition as I did in the Olympic games. The Olympics is the biggest stage for track and field.
é: What inspired you to begin running track?
CRod: As a child I watched my older sister Tameka Rodriguez run track while she was in high school. Watching her run made me want to race other kids at my elementary school. The first race I ran was against the fastest boy at my elementary school back in 4th grade for a pack of fun dip candy.
é: Which Latino(a) have been inspirational during your journey?
CRod: The Latina who has been inspirational to me is J Lo. She has come a long way in her career. When I was young I used to want to sing and dance. I remember watching her on the show “In Living Color” as one of the “fly girls” dancers, and I later saw her play Selena in the movie “Selena”. J. Lo acts, sings and dances she pretty much does it all. She is definitely in inspiration.
é: What’s your favorite Latin dish?
CRod: My favorite Latin dish is a Puerto Rican: Mofongo with shrimp, chicken and Creole sauce, served with rice, bean and maduros.
é: So we hear you are an avid gamer; how long have you been playing and what’s your favorite game?
CRod: I’ve been playing video games for a long time since I was in junior high. My favorite game right now is on Xbox Kinect Dance Central. It’s a game that has a lot of hit songs that you can dance to.
é: We understand you’re a Presidential Challenge Advocate, what other projects are you working on?
CRod: American Ninja Warrior will be out this summer on NBC.
é: What advice do you have for young Latinos that aspire to become Olympians?
CRod: My advice for young Latinos who want to become Olympians would be to never give up your dreams and goals. To be patient because it’s a process and to work hard because it always pays off, nothing great ever comes easy.
é: So what is next for CRod?
CRod: Right now I am currently in my season and getting ready for the World Championships in Moscow, Russia this August. My next major competitions will be in Guadeloupe, Mexico on May 8th and in Puerto Rico on May 18th.