Running star Natasha Hastings is preparing for 2016 Olympics and is on track for career as a Wilhelmina model
August 22, 2012
Arnold School alumna Natasha Hastings didn’t make the cut for the 2012 Olympics but the 26-year-old running star is looking ahead and says she’ll be ready for the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil.
After meeting that goal, Hastings plans to hang up her running shoes and study for a new career as a chiropractor.
Hastings, who earned a gold medal in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, was in this year’s relay pool. She was hoping for another bid in her specialty, the 4x400 meter competition. The opportunity to run again emerged briefly when another pool member withdrew. But the withdrawal was too late for USA Track and Field to name Hastings as a replacement for the relay.
Hastings has enjoyed a successful sports and modeling career after graduating from USC’s Arnold School of Public Health in 2008 with a degree in exercise science. Turning pro in her junior year, Hastings has since contracted with high-tech sportswear maker Under Armour and also with Wilhelmina Models, one of the world’s largest model management companies.
“I’m working with my agency now to pull some pictures together, trying to shop myself around so that I can get in some fashion shows,” she said of her modeling career. “Obviously, not being in London I have had a little more time to do that.”
In an interview with espnW, Hastings described herself as “a girly girl.” And although the leggy, beautiful runner turns head on and off the track, she admitted in the interview that she was teased a lot in school for her lanky looks. Yet, she credits her mother, also a runner, with helping inspire confidence.
“My mom would always tell me I was beautiful ... She’d say, ‘Your body structure is a lot like mine at your age.’ I always thought my mom was the most beautiful person in the world,” Hastings said in the interview.
Hastings is working to start a fashion accessory line and preparing to return to school. She’s not sure where she wants to study chiropractic medicine, but she is looking at a school in Atlanta where she and her parents live and another in Florida.
Born and reared in Brooklyn, N.Y., Hastings began her track career at a very early age and placed first in the USATF Junior Olympics in the 400m in the Youth Girls division. She attended A. Phillip Randolph Campus High School in New York where she set several records and was the object of intense recruiting by USC track coach Curtis Frye.
“I decided I wanted to become a Gamecock when I was a freshman in high school,” she said. “I knew Carolina was an awesome school. That’s why I left the big city and came South. I had an awesome experience. I loved every minute.”
Hastings arrived at USC in 2005 to study exercise science and run for Coach Frye. She picked up her nickname “the 400M Diva” when she once referred to her fellow runners as the “Gamecock Divas.”
After an injury in 2007, Hastings went home to New York for the New Balance Collegiate Invitational and won the 400m race in 51.70, a personal record at the time, and anchored the 4×400m to a win with the fastest collegiate time for the year.
Also in 2007, she was named the USA Track and Field Athlete of the Week and won the SEC Championships by running a 50.84. Hastings went on to win the NCAA Championship title, and her time in the 400m at 50.15 was the second-fastest time ever on the collegiate level. Undefeated all season, Hastings became the NCAA Indoor and Outdoor Champion for the 400m.
After her gold-medal performance in the 2008 Olympics, Hastings has continued to rack up national and international awards. For 2012, her accomplishments include U.S. Indoor Silver Medalist 400m, World Indoor Bronze Medalist 400m and World Indoor Silver Medalist 4x400m.
Visit www.natashahastings.net to keep up with one of the world’s greatest sprinters.