Candace Hill is going places—fast. The 16-year-old may still be in high school, but she just become the youngest track and field athlete in the history of the country to go professional, The New York Times reports.
Back in June, Candace beat the U.S. teen record for the 100-meter dash, clocking 10.98 seconds. That's not just good - that's Olympics good. Since then, things have really taken off for the Atlanta high-schooler. She just signed a 10-year endorsement deal with sneaker company Asics, which is pretty much unheard of at this point in her career, not to mention an uncommonly long contract, but Asics has big dreams for her.
"For us, she's a Halley's comet of sport, a teenager who's tremendously gifted in both mind and body. With that talent and drive, we're betting that she can be the fastest woman in the world someday," Gene McCarthy, the CEO of Asics America Group, told The NYT.
The CEO is referring to Candace's brilliance in the classroom. She maintains a 4.6 GPA at her magnet school, and plans to use some of the money from her endorsement deal to attend college.
"It's the era of the girl in general. Women have never been more marketable in sports than they are now, from U.S. soccer to Serena," professional runner and five-time N.C.A.A. champion Lauren Fleshman told The Times. "Forty plus years since Title IX means we have our first generation of supportive parents and coaches who grew up with the idea of female athletes not being horrifying. People are training girls harder than ever."
One look at Candace, and anyone can see that it's paying off.