Belmont’s Adreanna Parlette to compete in Olympic trials for long jump Thursday in Oregon
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Belmont’s Adreanna Parlette to compete in Olympic trials for long jump Thursday in Oregon

Adreanna Parlette once worried that she peaked in high school; now, she’s headed to the Olympic trials. 

The Belmont track and field record-breaker will compete in the long jump trials, which will take place Thursday night at the University of Oregon, after she placed within the top 24 long jump athletes in the country.

Parlette is the first Belmont student-athlete to compete in an Olympic trial while also competing for the university.

“It feels like an out-of-body experience,” Parlette said. “I want to do well for Belmont, and I want to do well for myself.”

The long jump trials begin Thursday night, and the top nine qualifiers will go on to compete again on Saturday. Of the two dozen athletes invited to the event, only three will join Team USA at the Summer Olympics in Tokyo. Parlette’s competitors will include former Olympians, professional track and field athletes and other college students from around the country. 

She said the trials are all about “how good you are that day.” In the long jump especially, how well you do depends on tiny adjustments, quick decisions and training for every additional centimeter.

Parlette even has a tape measure on her desk to remind her of the small margin between good and great athletes in the long jump.

But the Nashville native isn’t nervous for the trials — she just wants to be present in a potentially life-changing moment. She’s focused on doing as well as she can in her event, but that’s not the only thing on her mind. 

Over the past year, Parlette made a point to focus on her mental health and how it affects her during competition.

She said she used to psych herself out in competition and overthink during her jumps, but when she began to talk about how the sport was affecting her mentally, she found more and more success on the track.

“This game is definitely more mental than it is physical,” she said.

And in a year where competitions were put on hold, it’s taken athletes a lot of work to get back on track.

Parlette said that she usually doesn’t train a lot during the summer, but that changed in 2020. She began working during the pandemic’s quiet summer months and arrived back at Belmont for fall conditioning feeling strong and ready, she said.

But she still felt like something was missing, like she needed to seek help for a problem that wasn’t physical.

Parlette joined a group therapy program that met three times per week, and in that group, she found both a strong sense of encouragement and the ability to finally make mental health one of her priorities as an athlete.

Parlette was worried that, when it came to competing, her best days were behind her — but she proved herself wrong over and over again this season at Belmont.

At a March invitational meet at Murray State, Parlette broke the university’s 36-year record by landing a 6.00 meter jump in competition.

The following week, Parlette shattered her own record with a 6.50 meter jump at the Joey Haines Invitational in Missouri.

As she climbed the ranks in the NCAA, Parlette became a contender for the Olympic trials, and she found out on June 15 that she’d be competing for a spot on Team USA.

After completing her undergraduate degree in August, Parlette will return to Belmont to get her master’s in strategic communications and leadership. She’ll use the extra season of eligibility given to athletes after the pandemic to compete with the Bruins for one more season.

She doesn’t know where her track and field career is going to go, but she does know that if she makes it to the Olympics, it will change the direction of her life, she said.

“I haven’t peaked. I’m not done yet.”

Parlette’s event will begin Thursday at 7:45 p.m. CST and will be broadcast on NBCOlympics.com.

This article was written by Sarah Maninger. Photo courtesy of the Belmont Office of Communications.

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