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Ottley Helps Olympic Athletes Defeat Mental Hurdles

Her students use team sports to help inner-city youth defy fear amidst racial strife

Just back from the U.S. Track & Field Olympic Trials (USATF), Dr. Margaret Ottley, professor of sport & exercise psychology and kinesiology, counseled the 2016 U.S. Olympic track & field team during an Elite Athlete Retreat in Los Angeles. With over 20 years of professional experience, Ottley has earned a coveted reputation for helping youth and elite athletes achieve mental discipline, and overcome issues related to performance anxiety, doubt, focus, energy management, relaxation, confidence, as well as other inadequacies.

Ottley also served on the USATF Olympic medical team during the 2008 games in Beijing and at the Elite Athlete Retreat in Miami prior to the Olympics in London in 2012. While in Beijing, she was one of only two sports psychologists working with the U.S. track and field team. In addition, she worked with the U.S. track and field teams at the International Association of Athletics Federation World Youth Championship in Morocco, the World Junior Championship in Beijing, and the Pan American Junior Games in Brazil. As the sports psychologist of choice for many international athletes and a native of Trinidad, Ottley works beyond the U.S. She assisted the Trinidad and Tobago elite teams in the Olympics in London, as well as the Olympic games in Greece in 2004. Once again, she has been asked to assist Trinidad and Tobago athletes during the 2016 Olympic Games. She will leave for Brazil on August 2.

Having broken the color barrier early on as a national field hockey player representing Trinidad and Tobago, Ottley is committed to implementing change on and off the field. Concerned about recent racial strife, Ottley is working to help inner-city children who have become fearful of those who are racially different. She will teach her WCU exercise science students how to use team-based activities to help the children learn to trust others and work with a diverse population. Ottley and her WCU students will engage K-8 children attending a camp sponsored by the Board of the Black Women in Sport Foundation (BWSF) on July 20, 9 am – 3 pm, at Methodist Services for Children & Families, 4300 Monument Road, Philadelphia. WCU students will lead the youngsters in a variety of action-packed fitness and team-building activities. The BWSF, of which Ottley is a board member, is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to increase the involvement of black girls and women in all aspects of sports; it also enrolls girls and boys in programs conducted throughout Philadelphia.