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August 24, 2022

Freddie Crittenden: The Biggest Breakthrough From NACAC After Running 13.00 For 110m Hurdles

The biggest breakthrough performance from NACAC was without a doubt Freddie Crittenden in the 110 hurdles. The former Syracuse All-American who now trains out of Phoenix, finished fifth at the US Championships this year with a personal best of 13.14 (+1.2). In the Bahamas, Crittenden took the win in an impressive 13.00 (+0.3) to mark the biggest performance of his career. I caught up with him to hear the impact that race might have on his career, but also to talk about some of his work creating content off of the track.

Tell me about this huge performance at NACAC – finally running 13.00! I feel like you have had that in you for a while, but we finally got to see it. How does it feel? 

It was an exciting moment! I knew it was there, but there wasn’t a chance to put it together on race day. I had a lot of stuff going on this year and it was intense trying to juggle everything. I’ve been working a lot and then got married in April, which was a huge moment for me that I wanted to enjoy. Then I had some hiccups with training where I had to pull out of some races. I ran well at USAs, but I left there not really where I wanted to be. Since then I’ve been waiting around as there haven’t been many opportunities. And so I capitalized on NACAC because I knew it was in me and I manifested it.

You’re kind of in a unique position. Even before running 13.00, the fourth fastest time in the world this year, your times would have put you in the top 12 or so. But being fifth at USAs means it’s tough to get a lane because Diamond League meets don’t want every lane to be from the same country.

Exactly and that’s unfortunately something I have to deal with. It is hard being a hurdler in the US, this year more than ever. It’s not just the times you have run, but the accolades you have and guys like Grant, Devon, Trey, and Daniel have that name where a meet has to let them in. Then the host countries let their athletes in and the points build up their rankings. You kind of have to put your head down to just keep working and stay patient, and hopefully opportunities will open up —  you just have to stay ready. Now hopefully I’ll have a bit more pull.

I saw you recently started a podcast/YouTube channel – Float The Backstretch. You work as a videographer, correct? I love the content, and the whole thing is produced so well. 

I picked up a camera because I was wasting a lot of time playing video games and I needed to put some time into something that could actually be a good investment – maybe give me something else to focus on. So I started doing videography stuff and I was connected with a non-profit program with this broadcast studio to help underprivileged kids. We’d bring them to the studio to show cameras, green screens, and how stuff works behind a news broadcast. Afterward, they offered me a paid internship and said if I had any passion projects I was welcome to use the studio equipment and they’d help me navigate and improve. 

I’ve always had super interesting conversations at practice with my training partners about the sport and one day I said we need to put them on camera. I just woke up one day and was like, “we’re starting a podcast.” And we have been rolling with the punches since, trying to find interesting stories and doing meet recaps, just like we would at practice. Jarret and I love doing it so we’ll keep building it. And the response has been great.

Is the goal to build your personal brand or is it to address the lack of athlete-created content? Is there motivation beyond just enjoying and having fun? 

We each have our own experience in the sport that we feel needs to be talked about more. And so it’s wanting to advocate for athletes — people who get thrown under the rug. We want to shed light, perpetuate conversation, and talk about interesting things. We have our own opinions, but it’s the banter that I think can help grow the sport, just like news, and current events.

I would love for it to benefit me individually, to hopefully make me more marketable or more profitable for sponsors. By investing in myself then I can support this dream, so I can continue to run track even if I don’t have a contract. 

It could be something to help me run track even longer and contribute to the sport as a whole. But the best part is hearing people’s stories and understanding what they’re going through. We just had Omar Craddock and he shared things I wouldn’t have ever known about and that’s the most rewarding part.

Well, I’m excited to see where it goes! It’s always a challenge talking about people who you are going to see the following week at a meet.

I have some strong opinions, but if I want to put those out there I definitely feel like I should be able to stand on them. Like if they’re standing in front of me, I need to be able to say it if I’m going to say it at all, you know?

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