Junior Olympian Jaiya Patillo Reveals What She’s Thinking When She Beats College Athletes
Lifestyle October 12, 2022
At just 13 years old, track superstar Jaiya Patillo can outrun some of the nation’s best college athletes.
On “The Jennifer Hudson Show,” Jennifer chatted with the teenager from Bellevue, Nebraska, who went viral in 2021 for running 17 mph on a treadmill. (This year, she beat her personal record by running 19 mph on a treadmill.)
During the interview, JHud brought up how Jaiya recently competed against college athletes at an open track meet.
“It was really crazy running there,” Jaiya said about the experience. “At first, when I was running, I was nervous. When I got around the curve was when I picked it up. I was just really determined to win.”
Regarding her mentality during the competition, Jaiya — who has competed in the Junior Olympics 14 times and has won first place at the national level three times — said, “When I’m running, I’m in my own kind of zone.”
“But when I got around that curve, I was like, ‘Okay, this is my moment.’ [I was] putting my mind to winning that race so I really was determined.
"And when I got there, I knew I had to pick it up if I wanted to win. It’s always painful getting to the last part of the [400-meter dash] but I just pushed through because I knew I could make history by doing this.”
“You better have your vision in mind,” Jennifer said in response.
When Jennifer asked Jaiya what it’s like to defeat athletes who are years older, she said she was “really proud of [herself]” and felt “really accomplished.”
“It was a really crazy moment. I know these college kids [are] running for their scholarship or whatever it is, so I know they don’t want to see a seventh grader beat them,” she added. “I really had to push myself.”
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As for the advice she has for young girls pursuing track, Jaiya told them, “You can do whatever you set your mind to.”
“You have to put in the hard work. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do it. Everything is inside of you, and you can do it no matter what anyone tells you.”
Later in the episode, Jaiya got to show off her impressive skills when she competed against Jenn and Jenn’s best friend Walter Williams in a track meet on the Warner Bros. lot.
Surprising no one, Jaiya placed first and was awarded a beautiful trophy.
You go, girl!
“The Jennifer Hudson Show” airs weekdays. Check your local listings.