USA Track & Field Olympian Sharrieffa Barksdale


Sharrieffa Barksdale was born in Harriman, Tennessee The 6th of 7 children, Sharrieffa was always viewed by her family as a strong-willed young lady, who was full of determination and drive to become the best at whatever she chose. This determined attitude was exemplified when she competed for the Harriman High School girls’ track team and single-handedly won the Tennessee High School State track championship. She was also named a high school All-American and identified in .Who’s Who across America. Her determination to be a winner no matter what the odds has shaped her into the woman she is today. Sharrieffa’s commitment to her craft of running was strengthened during her 5:00 a.m. morning runs she made every morning throughout her years in high school. As an all around student athlete, playing basketball, running track and cheerleading, Sharrieffa showed herself to not only be competitive, but one of the best in every endeavor she undertook.

She earned a track & field scholarship to attend the University of Tennessee in Knoxville majoring in early childhood education. The work ethic that she demonstrated in high school increased as she made her way through college. She was a standout track star running for the Lady Vols, where she became the first female to run the 400 meter hurdles in under 55 seconds, clinching the American record. She later broke the American record again in the 400 meters hurdles, just missing the world record by a mere eight-tenths of a second! In 1984 she earned a spot on the United States Olympic Team that was held in Los ,Angeles, California. Following the 1984 Olympic Games she was honored by the city of Harriman with the Keys to the City, a street named after her and the local high school track where she competed as a teen was renamed “Sharrieffa Barksdale Track”. Sharrieffa continued to represent the United States in international competitions .around the world for over 10 years Sharrieffa has proven to be a champion on and off the track. Upon her retirement from the sport she began a career in retail sales, where she become an award winning sales associate. While working in retail she also committed herself to working with other aspiring track & field athletes by assisting them in their journey towards Olympic Gold.

Additionally, Sharrieffa has reached out to youth in the community through her volunteer efforts as the founder director and lead choreographer of the Kentucky Diamonds and K-D Boys and Top Notch Elite Dance Team. For these youth ages 5-16, she does more than teach various moves
to music, she also helps them improve their self-esteem as she teaches youth that “they are somebody” and never let anything stand in their way”. Her program has been in existence for 13 years.

Sharrieffa re-entered the world of track and field in 2000 and has not slowed down, not only competing in Masters in 2008 and was award Masters Athlete of the Year through USATF Kentucky Association, but as a Coach Assistant Manager and liaison on several USA National Teams. She has coached collegiate athletes at Florida A&M University, Kentucky State University as well as a personal trainer for various athletes throughout her community Ms. Barksdale has over the years shown that in every aspect of life, a winning attitude goes a long way. She has shared her life story and provides motivation to others to help them unlock their potential when she speaks to groups around the world. Her speech provides powerful motivation for each of us to learn to navigate the obstacles of life in an effort to “Let Nothing Stand in Your Way.”

Ms Barksdale is also a motivational speaker and has spoken in many venues on various platform throughout the nation and abroad. She has spoken at prestigious universities, local elementary and high schools, National and International teams as well as local, state and federal government agencies ,Sharrieffa is the proud mother two wonderful children Gentel, who is the 2015 St Augustine University Queen and Javarus, who is one of the most highly recruited football players in the nation.

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