Menlo School alum Maddy Price headed to Tokyo Olympics in track
Menlo School 2014 graduate and Duke All-American Maddy Price is bound for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics to compete for Canada in the 4×400-meter relay. She is among 57 track and field athletes nominated to compete for Canada.
“It still gives me chills and makes me emotional just thinking about it,” Maddy said. “It feels like a combination of so many things—dedication and passion and love and support that all went into this goal.“
Maddy had been racing in Europe and had just left Germany for Scotland to visit sister Nikky (Menlo ’16), who is pursuing her masters at University of St. Andrew’s. It was there Maddy learned she would be realizing the dream she had since she was in grade school—to make the Olympic team.
“It was so special to be with my sister when I found out I made it,” she said, who shared her and Nikky’s overjoyed and tearful response on Instagram while mom Sarah was in the Bay Area on Facetime. “I think it would have been hard to be in a hotel in Europe, or flying back by myself when I heard, so that was amazing to be with family.
She hadn’t seen Nikky in over a year due to training, caring for an injured foot, along with pandemic restricted travel. In March 2020, Team Canada made the bold and difficult decision to withdraw from the Olympics. Days later, the Tokyo Games were cancelled.
Maddy made the most of that time in Olympics limbo, taking care of an injury, rehabilitating, training and coaching. After undergoing foot surgery in fall 2020, Price returned to Duke as a volunteer assistant coach, and the Blue Devils, including some of her former teammates, won the first Atlantic Coast Conference title in program history.
Fast forward to a couple months ago: Team Canada announced that there would be Olympic Trials. For Maddy and those that train outside of Canada, the two-week mandatory quarantine is tricky. The athletes were not obligated to compete at Trials, and instead the national team will be decided by a committee who will look at who made the time standard, who is the top 48 in the world based on an algorithm of head to head races, past performances, and trials among other criteria.
Maddy, whose parents are Canadian, started as a professional track athlete in 2019, competing in the IAAF World Relays in Japan, World University Games in Italy, and the IAAF World Championships in Qatar. Now she will be an athlete on the biggest world stage. She remembers watching Allyson Felix, the most decorated female track Olympian, win gold in the 200 in London in 2012. She would later get to race with Felix but has lasting memories of the veteran sprinter, who will be competing in the 400 in Tokyo.
“She had gotten second in that event and was just searching for that gold, and when she won gold, it was a moment I will remember forever,“ Maddy said. “I’ve had a photo of her on my wall since I was a kid. I remember the first couple of times I ran against her. The first was when I was at Duke and we raced at the Mount Sac Relays, and thinking ‘Oh my gosh this is crazy.’ and later in the world championships lining up against her in the mixed relay. I think that would be one of my favorite Olympic moments growing up.”
A two-time Central Coast Section champion in the 200 and 400 at Menlo, and a six-time All-American at Duke, Price has been competing for the Canadian national team for years.
Price’s first love was soccer, and her ambition ran high all the way back to even before Menlo Middle School. It was in middle school that Coach Jorge Chen urged her to run.
“I always wanted to be at the top of sport no matter what sport that was,” she said. “Track was starting to get very interesting, but at the time, but I had always envisioned myself going to the World Cup in soccer, trying to make it to the Olympics.
“As I came out of Duke it started to become a reality. My younger self would be so excited right now, and I try to always remember that and enjoy and cherish where I’m at because I wanted this for so long so enjoying this process is the biggest part of it.”
Maddy will continue to work out in North Carolina before she departs for Gifu, Japan, where Team Canada will acclimate to the time change and weather while training,