CHESAPEAKE (WAVY) – With his gold medal draped around his neck, Michael Cherry, a Chesapeake native, was honored in front of fans prior to the Hickory vs. Oscar Smith football game Friday night. Cherry is a 2013 graduate of Oscar Smith. Since then, he’s been making waves as a track and field professional. He’s coming off his best year ever after placing fourth in the Tokyo Olympics in the men’s 400 meter, winning gold as part of the 4×400 men’s relay team, and earning a Diamond League championship by running a personal best of 44.04 three weeks ago in Switzerland.
“Tokyo was amazing. It was my first Olympic team and i wanted to go out there and compete hard. show out for my family and compete for my family. and go super hard for my city. it was amazing,” Cherry said. “This year, I was just overly focused. I wanted to come out and make sure I had a great year. I trained hard, I stayed at home. I was focused. I wanted to be really consistent to show the world I’m one of the top 400 runners in the world and i think I’ve done that this season.”
Cherry is now enjoying some time off before beginning to train again for his upcoming season. He said Friday the support he receives back home in Chesapeake never ceases to amaze him.
“It feels good to come here. They always show me a lot of support. Coming fresh off of Tokyo. it’s great. the crowd is amazing, all the support is amazing.”
What’s also is amazing is the fact that two Olympians this year hail from Chesapeake. Cherry is good friends with silver medalist Grant Holloway.
“I love Grant. Grant is my guy. He’s a super athlete, an incredible hurdler. We have a lot of talent (in Chesapeake). It’s super deep. We show it every year from high school to college to professional. You get to see both of us next year at world championships so I can’t wait for that.”