Candace Hill ran 100 meters last year in 10.98 seconds.
When Candace Hill ran 100 meters last year in a record-breaking 10.98 seconds, the then 16-year-old high school junior officially became the fastest girl in the world. Now, she’s also the youngest track athlete to ever go pro, and she’s hoping to qualify for the U.S. Olympic team this year.
“I’m still in shock about that label,” Candace says in the March issue of Seventeen, on newsstands now. “The boys are too scared to run against me … They’ll take longer to get ready or ‘forget’ something in the locker room when they know I’ll be at practice with them.”
Candace didn’t start out as a track superstar. She first tried out for her school’s team in seventh grade. She wasn’t the fastest girl and actually lost her first race, the 200-meter dash. But with a few years of hard work and dedication, she was soon coming out on top.
Going pro means giving up the chance to compete in high school and college leagues, but opens the door for sponsorships. (She’s currently sponsored by Asics.)
“At first, I was nervous to go pro,” she told Seventeen’s senior editor Andrea Stanley. “Just last year I was just a basic high school runner. But I realized that I’m moving on to bigger and better things and that I need to take advantage of opportunities as they come to me.”
Candace turns 17 today, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to give her a Seventeen-style birthday shout-out. Learn her name now — it’ll come in handy when she’s likely to be tearing up the track on your TV screen this summer in Rio!