Former Olympic Heptathlete Heads Poly Athletic Department


Opal Williams Law, Contributing Writer

On July 1st, 2022, Kym Carter became Poly Prep’s new Athletic Director. Carter filled in the position after Kristin Cannon had been the Athletic Director and Girls’ Soccer Coach at Poly for four years. Carter said her goals as athletic director are to shine more light on girls’ sports and to promote girls’ sports events.

During Poly Prep’s first assembly of the year, Carter said, “This is the year of girls’ sports,” and added, “I do know we have very good male sports, but I think our sports for girls are very good too. So [I’d] really like to try to highlight that a little bit more.” Her statement inspired some girls at Poly who participate in sports. Sophomore Mykah Lieberthal, a varsity tennis player said, “I hope… that there’s more encouragement and support for the female athletic teams, because I know last year the school definitely lacked that.” 

Senior Georgia Horan, a varsity tennis player, student leader of the Special Olympics, and leader of the student athlete-action team agrees. “I think that the athletics department will change for the better… I think that [Carter’s] going to be a really good listener…and Carter will be very close with a lot of the women’s teams,” said Horan. The student athlete-action team is trying to take action within the athletics community as there are “many teams that need a little bit more support.” 

I love athletics because you find that there is an opportunity to discover that people are really quite the same.

— Kym Carter

Carter calls herself “an athlete, not a female athlete.” She said, “Sports have no gender… Being tough has no gender.”

In the future, Carter hopes to “see if we can get a little bit out of our bubble” and help Poly’s teams compete with schools outside the Ivy league. Carter hopes to open Poly’s division up to more of a variety of schools. 

In high school, Carter never lost a track and field competition. She was her school’s best athlete. Carter said, “I was selected as the number one athlete for my state. I was not the number one girl. There was not one girl and one boy. I was the number one athlete.”

According to the Olympics website, “Kym Carter was a heptathlete who finished 11th at the Barcelona Olympics.” Carter was recruited to Louisiana State University (LSU) for track and field. She started off as a high jumper and then transitioned to the heptathlon, a heptathlon consisting of three running events, two jumping events, and two throwing events. Carter was ranked #1 in the heptathlon in 1994 and indoors in 1995. 

After competing professionally, Carter became the executive director of the Carl Lewis Foundation, a charity organization led by Carl Lewis, an Olympian who won nine gold medals. Carter is also a board member of the Sound Body Mind program, a program designed to increase physical fitness in high schools. 

Kym is a leader. Anyone who encounters her finds her very inspiring.

— Audrius Barzdukas

Carter just arrived from Santa Barbara where she previously coached track and field for UCSB. Carter left UCSB after realizing that college students are not as “malleable” compared to younger minds. “Their brains were not as not as open to change.” Carter believes that directing high school students allows “an opportunity to have kind of an effect on someone’s thinking in a variety of different areas.” Carter said she made the final decision to move to New York and work for Poly to be closer to her children while they are at college. 

According to an article on Carter in the BKReader, a local newsource for Brooklyn, “her kids grew older…she found herself getting back into athletics — this time on the coaching side.” Carter has twins, one girl and one boy who are currently 23. Carter said, “I really made the decision to kind of throw work into volunteering with school activities, and then if the opportunity would arise, I might try something part time, and some of that part timing was, I’d always been coaching, so then I was asked to do more and more private coaching.” 

Poly events like Blue Devil Night Carter says, “are a ball…I really enjoyed that. I love opportunities for the community to get together.”

Audrius Barzdukas, Head of School at Poly, said “Kym is a leader. Anyone who encounters her finds her very inspiring. I love her special affinity for girl’s sports.”

Carter says, “I love athletics because you find that there is an opportunity to discover that people are really quite the same.”