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Planning on watching the Rio Olympics in a few months? Keep an eye out for AYWS alumnus Austin Lewis Hollimon.

The veteran trombonist is currently training to join the U.S. Olympic Team as a 400m hurdler, and he says his success on the track is strongly linked to his personal growth as a member of the AYWS.
 

“Becoming a part of AYWS was my first introduction to institutional excellence and the kind of natural competition that helped me really reach for my potential in all aspects of my life,” says Hollimon.
 
“On Monday evenings, I learned how truly fulfilling it was to work with a committed group of people. I found inspiration that made me a better musician, student, and athlete. It was a catalyst for me to excel in many endeavors.”
 
In addition to keeping busy on the track, the Princeton University graduate and 2013 NCAA champion is a former member of Teach for America and also a co-founder of Commit Youth Inc., which leverages student passion to increase academic performance.
 
“Mike Rowe once said, ‘If you want success, never follow your passion, but always bring it with you,’ and that has always stuck with me,” Hollimon explains. 
 
“I found my first love in music at AYWS, and even though I’m not pursuing music professionally, my experience has served me well everywhere I’ve gone. I’ve brought that same passion to clearing hurdles and have been amazed at where it’s taken me. Hopefully, it will bring me to the medal stand in Rio, Brazil.” 

And Hollimon has one last thing to share with his fellow musicians:

“I have to send a special shout out to trombones everywhere… Keep sliding!"