After graduating from Augustana in 2016, former women’s track and field athlete Kayla Bushey has decided to continue her training as a professional athlete in Nashville, Tenn.to qualify for the Olympics in 2020.
Bushey realized she wanted to be a professional athlete while studying abroad in Australia through Augustana.
“People were loving what they were doing [In Australia] and I realized that I wanted to do something different. I didn’t want to sit in a office job and do things for other people,” Bushey said.
This realization led her to find a training group after leaving Augustana and move to Tennessee to work with her coach Kentā Bell, who qualified and finished among the best in the world as an American track and field athlete for the Olympics in the triple jump twice.
Bushey expressed the difference that she has found between her strict collegiate training schedule and her now more personal independent training. She said she enjoys both but has liked learning how to take more of her training into her own hands.
“The intent, intensity and ability to take control for how I progress is now up to me and my coach,” Bushey said. “I would say this training is a little more strict in that I have to watch everything I do in the day as either something that helps me progress in my career or something that is holding me back.”
This new training also allowed Bushey to see the work that the Augustana coaches put into helping their teams be successful.
“I took for granted the amount of time our coaches put into us as athletes,” she said. “ “I think if I went back, I would definitely say a few more thank you’s because it’ll never be enough.”
One thing that sets Bushey apart in her training is the untraditional nature of her athleticism. Bushey describes herself as looking unlike the average triple jumper at only 5’4’’. She also describes herself as having a different background than most professional athletes. These are things that Bushey is looking to overcome in the next four years as she hopefully moves on to Tokyo.
“Once you realize you have the ability and the support, it’s just doing the work,” Bushey said.
Individuals can follow Bushey’s journey to Tokyo on her website www.kaylabushey.com.