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Built for Speed

Track star Casey Hart readies to clear her next big hurdle.

Olympic hopeful and local Casey Hart

Chances are, you would have seen this month’s vixen on the starting blocks in London last year—had a freak injury not occurred, putting the up-and-coming 400-meter hurdles medalist on the sidelines for a couple of months. But once you meet Atlantan Casey Hart, something in your gut says, “Yeah, 2016.” We sat down with Hart to talk about her home, her regimen and what really ticks her off.

Atlanta’s home now. But you’re a Gulf Coast gal… I miss it. The Southern hospitality is different in New Orleans. It’s like its own little world down there. People are just so friendly, but a lot of us have lived a pretty rough life, so we don’t [mess] around. People can tell that about us right off the bat.

No cracks about feisty redheads here. [Laughs] I’m not a redhead, but I get stereotyped like that. I am a brunette with natural red highlights. But, yeah, people will automatically think unfair and judgmental things. I’m actually the complete opposite.

Any favorite Atlanta spots that remind you of home? Copeland’s Cheesecake Bistro—there’s one in Atlantic Station. The crawfish bread is amazing.

You’re vying for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio. It can get pretty hairy in the Olympic Village, we hear. Right now, I’m training three hours a day, working up to trials. And if I make it, it’ll be a huge honor and an amazing experience. But, yeah, I’ve heard plenty of stories…

So you’re training like crazy, and you’re getting into modeling? I did a shoot for the USA Track and Field association, and they liked the shots, so I was kind of the face of the Olympic campaign in 2012: posters at trials, on signs, on 18-wheelers—it was crazy, but really fun. I still love being in front of the camera, working with new people, trying different things. It started off as a hobby, but now it’s turning into a bit of a career.

Guilty pleasure? Cookie dough—those precut sugar cookies with the holiday pictures on them. [Bake, and] then just chow down.

Biggest turnoff with a date? It’s a big turnoff if he can’t run faster [than me]. He at least has to be able to keep up with me.