Local Olympic Spotlight: Miranda Melville Joins Fellow New Yorker as Team USA Race Walker
Rochester native, Miranda Melville, will try to beat fellow New Yorker and race walker Maria Michta-Coffey, when she competes in the race walking event in Rio.
Melville secured her first Olympic bid when she finished second behind Michta-Coffey at the U.S. Olympic Trials in the 20km race walk. She finished second in the last Trials in 2012, but didn’t qualify with the Olympic standard time.
Melville is one of the few American women to beat four time U.S. champ Michta-Coffey, including beating her in the U.S. championships last year to take her first national title, after being runner-up a couple of times. However, she doesn’t have much of an international pedigree either, and what limited experience she does have isn’t great. While she did qualify for the World Championships in Beijing this year, she isn’t even ranked on the World Cup Standings this year. She did however win gold in the Junior Olympic 10km race, but that was the most success she would achieve.
In Rio, her chances at the podium aren’t great. There are too many other racers that are simply capable of posting better times than her, making it unlikely she can reach the top. Finishing in the top thirty is a good goal for her to shoot for, and even beating American rival Michta-Coffey in the race. Americans aren’t particularly known for race walking, with no woman ever bringing home a medal in the event, and the last man taking one home in 1972. It’s unlikely that Melville will end the drought in 2016.
Melville graduated from Rush-Henrietta High School in Henrietta, New York in 2007. She has lived in San Diego the past few years, as she trains and races for an NAIA college, University of Wisconsin-Parkside, because the NCAA doesn’t offer race walking. She took up race walking her freshman season of high school, after realizing that pole vaulting and sprinting weren’t her events.