New York State Dairy Princess Shelby Benjamin, Second Alternate Dairy Princess Elizabeth Hyman and I had the opportunity to meet with English Gardner, U.S. Olympic Gold Medalist in track and field, and ask her these questions:
Q: Why Gardner thought dairy was such a great refueling choice?
A: Gardner says she drank milk growing up, but she really began to understand the importance of dairy when she needed more energy. These days, Gardner’s favorite dairy product is cheese!
Q: Did she dream about becoming an Olympian a child?
A: At age 9, Gardner told her family she wanted to be a U.S. Olympic Gold Medalist and that she wasn’t going to stop track and field until she fulfilled that goal.
Q: Was her family supportive of her decisions?
A: Yes, says Gardner. They are a track and field family. Her dad is her coach and her mom is her (unofficial) sport psychologist.
Q: How did it feel to receive a gold medal?
A: Gardner says before walking out into the field to step onto the podium, she was shaking. Getting the medal was a surreal moment and she couldn’t believe how heavy it was. Gardner prepared for receiving the medal but not the aftermath. She was scared that she was going to forget the national anthem, but instead it was the noise in the stadium and a blown speaker that prevented her from hearing and singing along.
I am so glad that I was able to have this experience and learn about the life of a U.S. Olympic athlete.
Holly is the 2021 New York State First Alternate Dairy Princess. She is the 16-year-old daughter of David and Emily Niefergold from Lawtons, N.Y. They milk about 125 Holstein dairy cows robotically. Holly is involved with softball, National Jr. Honor Society, 4-H and FFA. Her favorite dairy product is a cold glass of whole milk.