Miranda Melville is usually up before sunrise hitting the Silver Strand for a lengthy workout.
As one of the fastest American women ever to compete in the 20-kilometer race walk, she knows a thing or two about putting her body to the test.
She also knows a thing or two about pressure. She will have spent four years preparing for the chance to represent Team USA in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and it could all come down to just one race.
In many ways, Melville’s career as an elite level athlete is the perfect match for her day job: prepping high school students for the SAT and ACT exams.
“I’m a pretty relaxed tutor. I really let the students know whatever they put into it is what they’ll get out of it, just like athletics, just like anything you do in life,” Melville said.
Melville works as a tutor for StudyPoint and says the flexible schedule allows her to keep up with the rigorous training demands and competition travel schedule of an Olympian.
While she often shows up for study sessions wearing “Team USA” gear and has a bunch of pins from competitions all over the globe on her backpack, not all of her students realize they’re getting tutored by an Olympian.
“I don’t outright tell them, it’s in my "bio" as a tutor, but if the students haven’t seen it, or parents haven’t looked at it, they know,” said Melville. “Sometimes they get curious and ask what do you do outside tutoring? And I tell them and they’re like ‘Oh my gosh!’”
At a time when students are feeling more pressure than ever to perform at a high level on SAT and ACT tests due to ultra-competitive college admission standards, Melville can use her experience to connect with them.
When students report back with disappointing test scores, she can relate to that too.
Melville missed out on the 2012 London Olympics by just 2.2 seconds.
“Obviously it was such a close taste, you really taste it and it was enough to motivate me for the 2016 Rio Olympics,” said Melville.
She spent the next four years training for the 2016 Rio Olympics and her hard work paid off with an invitation to compete in the games.
In race walking, competitors must abide by two primary rules: keep at least one foot on the ground at all times and keep the leading leg straight as it hits the ground.
Since the sport doesn’t attract major sponsorship money, race walkers like Melville usually have to work day jobs to support themselves and their Olympic dreams.
She just happens to be in the right profession for dream building.
“They can kind of look at me and go ‘this girl worked really hard and got to where she is, so I can work really hard and get to where I want to be’” said Melville.