Before they jetted off to Tokyo ahead of the Olympic Games, many members of team U.S.A. were running, jumping and throwing their way to world records at a New York City institution: The Armory in Washington Heights.
The track at the Armory has been dubbed the "Fastest Track in the World," thanks to the multitude of records set there over the years. One of those record-breaking performances came from Ajeé Wilson, a native of Neptune, New Jersey, who set a new indoor 800 meter American record in February 2020.
"The armory is my home away from home and I love racing there. The fans, the energy, it’s always so welcoming whenever I come," Wilson said.
She had just graduated from Neptune Academy when she ran in 2012 at the Armory’s 200 meter banked indoor track. Now she’s the American record holder in the 800 indoors and outdoors.
Wilson will be running the 800 meter race in Tokyo — an event that features three top-tier female American athletes, including Trenton Central graduate Athing Mu, who won the Olympic trial and also raced at the Armory.
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The Armory’s signature meet every winter is the Millrose Games, which draws thousands of spectators to watch the world’s greatest track and field stars. There are 24 Millrose champions representing the U.S. in Tokyo.
"It’s wonderful to see the New York and New Jersey athletes succeed so much from the armory stage to the professional and big stage," said Jonathan Schindel, co-president and CFO for the Armory New Balance Track and Field Center.
"It’s a huge collective effort. The Armory isn’t doing this by themselves and we are very fortunate to be sitting here in New York City, and it’s easy for people to get to us," said fellow co-president Rita Finkel.
It’s not just local Olympians like Sydney McLaughlin and Rai Benjamin 4:54 who run at the Armory — the track hosts camps for up and coming athletes too.
"To think these are the same people who will represent the U.S. in 2024 or 2028 is great to be a part of and great to watch," said Wilson.