Photo by NDSU Athletics
From the country of Saint Kitts and Nevis to the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, Tamara Brudy took a massive leap north to compete with the Bison. She tells us her story.
First TIME FOR EVERYTHING
I competed in the 1996 Olympics, and that was the first time our country, Saint Kitts and Nevis, ever competed in the Olympics. I anchored the 4×400-meter relay and we had the 12th-fastest time out of 24 teams. Our time still stands as a national record because there was never another 4×400 relay team that had competed for our country. It was a good experience. I mean that’s supposed to top your career.
It was an experience that’s beyond anything, the stadium, lights, atmosphere and the culture of the athletes there. Whether it’s gymnastics, basketball, track and field, it’s an environment that, when you get there, you know you’re supposed to be there. That is something I will hold on to forever, even though we got 12th, it was magical.
After the Olympics, I went back home and there was a guy recording while I was running at one of the track meets. I competed in the 400-meter dash and he approached me and my coach and said, “If you’re running 54 (seconds) on grass, you could be much faster on the rubber surface.” He asked if I ever wanted a chance at going to college, and I thought, “Well, it will never happen.”
There were a few colleges that did call me, but (I remember) North Dakota (State), who was very good at the time. Coach Jerry Gores came down to Saint Kitts to meet me and my family. He offered me a full-ride and that’s how I got to North Dakota State.
Traveling from the islands, I had to go from Saint Kitts to Puerto Rico, from Puerto Rico to Chicago, from Chicago to Sioux Falls, from Sioux Falls to North Dakota. I was like, “Am I ever going to get there?” It was a scary experience, and at the same time, I was in disbelief that I was going to college. It was everything all rolled up in one.
TRAINING THE NEXT TEAM
I always knew I wanted to be a coach and a physical education teacher. Ever since I was little, I was always outside, so I knew I wanted to do some kind of sport or activity. I went straight into physical education with a minor in health at NDSU.
This is my 14th year now teaching physical education at Berkley Charter School here in Florida. I coached the track club for four years first, and then I took a break, and now I just started back again this year.
I started running track when I was 13 and it’s just gone from there. Today, my daughter is going to be running in her first track meet. She’s 13 and will be competing in the 100-meter, 200-meter and 4×400-meter relay. I don’t know if she wants to pursue track, but she’s very good at soccer.
We’re still here in the States, but we try to go back to the islands every summer to teach our kids about our culture and visit family.
ALL-TIME OUTDOOR RECORDS
#3 in 400 meters: (53.43) – 2001
#4 in 200 meters: (23.94) – 2001
#7 in 4×200-meter relay: (1:41.01) – 2000
#9 in 4×400-meter relay: (3:38.54) – 2002
#9 in sprint medley relay: (3:56.89) – 2000
ALL-TIME INDOOR RECORDS
#3 in 55 meters: (7.16) – 1999
#4 in 400 meters: (54.58) – 2002
#4 in 4×400-meter relay: (3:41.58) – 2002
#5 in 200 meters: (24.30) – 1999
#10 in long jump: (19-5) – 1999