Feature | Athletics

Mechelle Lewis Freeman: Optimising mind and body performance

Start your year off right with USA's World Championship sprint relay gold medallist, motivational speaker and coach.

By Rory Jiwani ·

Are you looking to get 2021 off to a fast start? If so, world champion sprinter Mechelle Lewis Freeman can help.

Lewis Freeman won gold as part of the USA's sprint relay team at the 2007 World Championships before making her sole Olympic appearance at Beijing 2008.

After retiring from the track, she used her Masters degree in mass communications to good effect by working for Coca-Cola and managing their sponsorship activations for London 2012.

But Lewis Freeman was soon tempted back to athletics, taking on a coaching role with USA Track & Field and founding the non-profit organisation TrackGirlz which increases access to the sport for young females.

To raise money for TrackGirlz, Lewis Freeman has teamed up with the IOC and Worldwide Olympic Partner Airbnb to host an Online Experience where people from across the world can join her for a Mind and Body Masterclass.

Optimising Mind & Body Performance - Airbnb

"Throughout the years, the IOC has provided opportunities to develop my career both on and off the track, and the Airbnb Experience is now another way to continue to tell my story." - Mechelle Lewis Freeman

Airbnb Experience - Mechelle Lewis Freeman

The Online Olympic Experience

Lewis Freeman combines a track and field-inspired high intensity interval training (HIIT) workout with her unique story of how she became an Olympian.

It was far from a conventional path for the Maryland native who quit athletics due to injury soon after leading the University of South Carolina to a first national championship.

She moved to New York City and worked at an advertising agency on Madison Avenue, but left in 2006 to train in North Carolina and pursue her Olympic dream.

Despite having to work part-time to fund her career change, Lewis Freeman won World Championship relay gold a year later in Osaka and reached the semi-finals of the individual 100m.

She made it to Beijing 2008 as a member of the relay squad, and ran a strong second leg in the heats before handing over to Torri Edwards.

But the baton ended up on the floor in the final changeover between Edwards and Lauryn Williams to leave the medal contenders out of the competition.

"It’s all about conquering mind and body goals. I use my Olympic journey to help others understand the mindset they need to approach their goals."

Mechelle Lewis (R) consoles Torri Edwards after the USA 4x100m relay team dropped the baton in the heats at Beijing 2008

Lewis Freeman's Olympic experience may have been far from perfect, but she was determined to "take the bad with the good" from Beijing.

She has had to adapt more recently with the global pandemic forcing her to change her in-person Airbnb Experience into an online one.

Naturally, she has managed to turn things to her advantage.

"Now I really am excited that I'm able to connect with people from all over the world; I can talk to somebody from Asia; I've had somebody from Colombia join my Experience, and of course from the States, too.

"Wherever you are, no matter the time zone, we're able to come together collectively, share interests, share stories, inspire one another and just really connect."

READ MORE: https://www.olympic.org/news/the-olympian-giving-back-through-her-online-experience

About TrackGirlz

In 2015, Lewis Freeman founded TrackGirlz to "give girls access to sisterhood, empowerment, and track and field".

As well as her work as assistant relays coach for USA Track & Field, Lewis Freeman co-directs the organisation which runs a number of programs including empowerment workshopz, TrackGirlz Leadership Camps, and grants providing resources to encourage participation in track and field.

Freeman is advised by former hurdles star Sandra Farmer-Patrick, Atlanta 1996 decathlon gold medallist Dan O'Brien, and Paralympic long jumper Lacey Henderson.