SoCal Track and Field Athlete Still Running for Olympic Spot

Brenda Martinez is competing to make the Olympic team

Every morning, Brenda Martinez hits the ground running. It's something she's been doing since she was a little girl living with her parents in Rancho Cucamonga.

"They knew that I liked to run because I would run away from them," Martinez said.

So her parents put her in track as a punishment. It became her first love. Years later, she found a different kind of love on the track.

She locked eyes with Carlos Handler one day at a meet. They went on a first date, and now he's her husband and coach. Initially, transitioning from wife and husband to athlete and coach wasn't easy.

"I would get on her case, but sometimes we would bring that back to the house and, you know, we wouldn't talk," Handler said.

Martinez said he treats her like any other athlete in the group.

"I can respect that, but at the same time I don't like it," she said.

But she likes the results. Martinez won indoor nationals this year, and took the 800-meter bronze in the 2013 World Championships.

In that same race, Russian Mariya Savinova won silver. Since then, she's admitted doping.

"You kind of just get mad, and you're like 'Wow, I could have been a silver medalist,'" Martinez said.

Martinez is very outspoken about the culture of Russian doping in track and field.

"I think we knew all along," Martinez said. "Just the way they ran or just the way they competed, it was just kind of like 'Whoa, that's out of this world.'"

Martinez believes offenders should be banned from the Olympics. But no matter what anyone else is doing, she knows she can only do her best.

"It's kind of sickening that us going into races, like: 'OK, now you just try and finish as high as you can, and maybe in the future, you'll get promoted.' It's sad to think that way, but it's the truth."

Martinez had a dissapointing run at the Monday trials, but has one more shot to make the Olympic team on Thursday night.

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