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Havre native, former Montana Grizzly Sammy Evans' Olympic dreams put on hold

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Posted at 3:50 PM, Mar 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-30 11:53:04-04

MISSOULA -- Sammy Evans grew up in Havre before graduating high school in 2012 and becoming a Montana Grizzly track and field athlete.

In her five years at UM, Evans excelled in the long and triple jumps. In her junior season, she began to realize making the Olympics might be a possibility.

However, she knew there was a thin chance of that in the state of Montana, with a lack of sponsorship opportunities and the weather.

"It's so hard to train when you only have a couple of really good months a year," said Evans. "Those other months just make it too hard, especially as a jumper, all of the contact."

After college, Evans packed up her bags and moved south to Arizona where she began chasing the Olympic dream. However, her first year and a half was delayed by a sickness.

Eventually, Evans began her training with high-profile coach Larry Todd.

"I convinced him to meet me, he thought I was funny," said Evans. "I'm pretty sure that's the only reason he agreed to coach me."

After dealing with obstacles for more than a year, Evans finally started making true progress toward the 2020 summer games.

"I was running fast, jumping well and my coaches were impressed," she said.

That all came to a halt this month in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

Evans, along with many other track athletes across the nation hoping to compete at the games, was all of a sudden stuck without a legitimate gym to train at and no competitions to compete at. Eventually, the news came down that the 2020 Tokyo games had officially been pushed back.

"I was getting better and was finally not sick and then the rest of the world got sick," said Evans. "I finally was where I wanted to be, at least where I thought I would have a shot. Then things kind of came crumbling down."

Not only had Evans been pushing her body and mind to the limit this entire time, but her wallet, as well.

"Most athletes actually spend more than they make," said Evans. "It becomes super expensive and then of course you need to work so you can pay for some of it. You can't work too much because you work too many hours, then it's going to affect your training. You're either not going to be able to train certain days or when you show up, you're going to be too exhausted."

Evans says when she thinks about continuing her training and brutal schedule for another year, she says her heart tells her yes at the moment but also says she'll need to be realistic and reevaluate in August.