Lauren Forgues is normally a pretty calm competitor, able to channel her emotions even in the tightest race.

But this is different.

Forgues, the 24-year-old from Boothbay, will race for a berth in the London Olympics Sunday morning. She is one of 16 women competing in the 20-kilometer race walk beginning at 10:30 a.m.

She is one of six who have a realistic chance at gaining the event’s lone Olympic berth. Since none of the race walkers have attained the Olympic “A” standard of 1:33:30 – Forgues has gained the “B” standard with her time of 1:37:41 – only the winner will go to London.

Knowing that going into the race has certainly added to Forgue’s stress level.

“I haven’t been too calm the last couple of weeks,” she said in a phone interview from San Diego, where she has been training. “I can’t relax. I’m prepared. My body’s prepared. I guess whatever happens, happens for a reason.

“I know that sounds like I’m being kind of spiritual, but all I’m saying is that the race will play out exactly the way it will play out. If that means winning, well, okay. If not, then I’ll have to decide if I want to keep trying and make the team in 2016.”

Forgues has the sixth-best qualifying time going into the race. Her coach – and one of the top men’s race walkers in the U.S. – Tim Seaman said it’s all right that Forgues is a little nervous.

She competed in the 2008 Olympic trials, but had to pull out of the race with a couple of kilometers remaining when her knees buckled on her.

She had torn the meniscus in both knees and had surgery soon after.

Now healthy, Seaman sees big things ahead for Forgues.

“I’m excited about the opportunity that Lauren has,” he said. “The last time, she was only 19, had no chance to make the Olympic team. She was there for fluff. This time, she’s there as a contender. It will be a big fight.”

Seaman, who will compete for a London Olympic berth in the men’s 20K race walk on Saturday morning (along with Ben Shorey, the Ellsworth High graduate), said Forgues could have a mental edge over the others.

“Physically, Lauren is close to being ready. Another couple of weeks of training would always do an athlete good, no matter the event,” he said.

“The bottom line is that the Olympic Trials require a special mentality, a special chip in the head. If there is one thing that I can say about Lauren, it’s that she’s a fighter and she always rises to the occasion.

“Once that gun goes off, she’ll calm down and realize what she has to do to win that race.”

Maria Michta, the two-time U.S. national champ, is the likely favorite.

But she’ll be pushed by, among others, Teresa Vail, Erin Gray and Miranda Melville – Forgues’ roommate while she’s been training in San Diego. Katie Burnett, another runner who trains with Seaman, has also stayed with them.

“This is the first race where I’ve actually been thinking, ‘I’m good friends with all these girls, but in the few days leading up to the race, I don’t want to be friends with them,’ ” said Forgues. “It’s nothing personal. This is the one race where I have to separate the competition from the friendship.”

Earlier this spring, Forgues went to Germany and Russia with Melville and Rachel Seaman – Tim’s wife and a contender for the Canadian women’s 20K Olympic team – to prepare for the Olympic Trials.

She didn’t like the results but was glad to break up the monotony of daily training.

“I raced well,” she said, “but I haven’t raced to my potential this year. The few 20Ks I ran just didn’t work out for me.”

Tim Seaman said that doesn’t matter any more.

“Lauren started the year with a bang,” he said. “Then she hit a lull in the middle of the season. The last couple of weeks, I’ve noticed that she’s really come on strong (in training).

“For four years, you train for this one day. Everything is geared to Sunday.”

Staff Writer Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or at:

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