Special Report: Olympic Hero Faces Mental Hurdle
Updated: Friday, August 2 2013, 10:23 PM EDT
Watch "Manteo's Mission" at Thursday night at 11pm on News 13 tonight.
A broken leg didn't stop Manteo Mitchell from finishing his leg of a relay race in the Olympics last summer. But that break left behind a mental hurdle he's working to overcome.
"I close my eyes for a second, and I try not to think about that moment," says Mitchell, who took home a bronze medal and became an Olympic hero because of his determination to finish.
Mitchell is building up his endurance on the track at Western Carolina University as he gets back up to speed after the injury.
Track coach Danny Williamson is working with Mitchell as he prepares for a run to Rio, the site of the next Olympics. The recovery process is more of a marathon than a sprint.
"Rehab, if I could put it in one word, it's just tough," Mitchell says. "Everybody thinks I'm back 100 percent because i have spikes on but I'm not."
Mitchell says he's consulted with a specialist to make sure the leg injury doesn't slow him down mentally. He hopes to be back in competition by next month.
No how matter how far he's come, Mitchell doesn't deny that the pain that propelled him to stardom last summer will be hard to put out of his mind.
"I am a very mental athlete," Mitchell says. "August 9th, at 11:35 AM will always be somewhere up there."
Click here for Monteo Mitchell's entire interview.
By John Le
Follow John on Twitter @AbsoluteLe