Clad in spandex and yellow reflective sunglasses, the 26-year-old swept across the finish line ahead of her competitors, finishing first in the 1,500-meter run, with an Olympic-trial record time of 3 minutes, 58.03 seconds — surpassing the previous record set by Mary Decker Slaney over three decades ago.
“She’s in a league of her own in this race and she is going to become an Olympian,” said one of the event’s moderators in sync with the cheering crowd as she finished.
In a month, Purrier St. Pierre will head to this summer’s Olympics set in Tokyo to compete, but her journey started on a dairy farm in Montgomery, Vt.
Before Purrier St. Pierre’s feet smacked across the burnt orange track at the University of Oregon’s Hayward Field, they walked on her family’s farm in northern Vermont. Purrier St. Pierre grew up tending to her family’s farm, primarily by helping raise the cows and pigs. One of her chores included waking up at 5:30 each morning before school to milk the family’s 30 cows.
Purrier St. Pierre attributes growing up on a farm and learning the value of working hard to her success on the track.
“It’s a skill that I learned from an early age and it’s just ingrained in me. And so I can’t just fake that. That’s something that has helped me so much in my career,” she said on “Dairy Defined,” a podcast produced by the National Milk Producers Federation.
Brian Carpenter, chairman of the Vermont Dairy Producers Alliance, said the members are ready to cheer on one of their own. “We’re all excited to see not just the local lady, but a local farm girl head off to represent our community,” he said.
The Vermont native trains with a team sponsored by the athletic brand New Balance and is personally sponsored by the Cabot Creamery Cooperative in Waitsfield, Vt.
Amber Sheridan, Cabot’s director of corporate communications, told Capital Press that Purrier St. Pierre had shown support for Cabot, the dairy, and the agricultural industry for years, so the partnership was a “natural progression.”
Amanda St. Pierre said her daughter-in-law authentically represents who the dairy-producing community is.
“The stories that she tells are real. What you see is what you get — from kissing a cow, to being in the barn with her dad, sister and her mom, to helping us on our farm — that is the real Elle and she’s sharing that with the world,” she said. “I think it just validates what we do.”