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Wednesday, May 23, 2018
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Pint-sized running phenomenon has ambition to spare

Amir Stiff is 8 years old and can outrun almost anybody.

Except his mom.

Amir is a third-grader at Dunbar Elementary, but there are already major colleges that have him on their radar. Amir’s mom, Ashlee, is not just a mother; she’s also a former sprinter and Amir’s coach.

Amir finished first in the 400-meter run and third in the 200-meter run at the AAU Club National Meet at Walt Disney World last year. He started sprinting at the age of 2 and hasn’t stopped running since.

No one has to worry about Amir spending too much time on the track or if his mom is pushing him too hard. He gets nearly perfect grades at Dunbar and isn’t a trash talker. He talks with his shoes and his reputation. Even at his tender age, coaches and competitors know who he is and they know they might be looking at the heels of his shoes at the finish line.

Amir has run for his mom at the Unattached Track Club, the Matrix Track Club, and the V-12 track club. He anchored the 4-by-400 track team that won the national championship in their age group.

He knew he was fast at an early age — as if 8 isn’t early enough.

“I just knew I was fast as long as I remember,” Amir said. “I just wanted to run and be the best.”

He wasn’t always the best. He finished fourth in a competition at Disney and wasn’t satisfied. At his young age, he knew he was better. So, a week later at nationals, he tried again.

“I just didn’t want to be beat,” he said. “I had to run again. I knew I could win. I told my mom I knew I could do it.”

His mom was skeptical but believed in her son.

“He came up to me and made the decision,” Ashlee said. “He has goals and dreams and makes them come true. I asked him if he was sure and he said that, yes, he was. I let him do what he wanted.”

It worked and Amir is now a national champion.

Amir has a bag full of gold medals that he proudly carries around with him. They stay in a plastic bag and Amir isn’t ready to hang them all yet because he said he isn’t done yet. He has plenty of competitions along the way to college — and dreams of the Olympics.

“I don’t want bronze, I want gold,” Amir said. “I want to win.”

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