Breaking News
More () »

HomeGrown: Missy Kane, 1984 Track and Field Olympian

Tennessee is well represented at the Olympics and has been for decades. Former WBIR on-air personality Missy Kane wore red, white and blue at the 1984 games. More recently, she was inducted into the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame.

Fast paced and always on the move...

“I can’t sit still,” admits Missy Kane.

It’s no wonder Kane found herself through running.

“I grew up in Nashville and I always liked sports.”

But Kane didn't consider herself an athlete.

“I was a tomboy. I grew up on a farm.”

She started running in college at University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

“This girl in my sorority asked me to go with her to try out for the women’s track team. God got me on track, my life on track through track and field. And, it really did change my life not just athletically but personally, too.”

She was team captain and went to the AIAW (Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women) Track and Field Nationals her senior year.

“Our team came in fourth in the country.”

After graduation, Kane taught school and went back to UT to get her master's degree. She hit the track for exercise.

“And, I realized I was just as good as them or better at 28, and that got me started again.”

She made the US Track and Field Women’s Team in 1983, medalled at the Pan American Games and overcame doubt with faith at the Olympic Trials.

“I had a Bible verse stuck in my shoe. It was 2 Timothy 4:7-8 ‘I fought the good fight. I’ve finished the race. I’ve kept the faith.’ So, I said, alright Missy, just shut up, quit complaining and get out there.”

She came in fourth.

“One place out of the Olympic team, but I was so satisfied because I didn't give up on myself that day.”

She came home to Knoxville and got the Olympic phone call.

“They said, Congratulations. Mary Decker is just going to run the 3000. You’re on the Olympic team,” remembers Kane.

Kane was tapped to compete in the Women’s 1500 meters.

“I was like, Man, this is exciting!”

And, it was.

“I didn't get a medal at the Olympics."

But she’s got a scrapbook of memories.

“It’s not a dream come true because I never dreamed about it. It was just a blessing.”

From opening ceremonies to meeting other athletes such as basketball great Michael Jordan.

“People were so excited. It was on U.S. soil - red, white and blue everywhere.”

Eventually, she returned to Knoxville to finish her master's and joined the WBIR team taping fitness segments, reporting for “Live at Five” and anchoring weekend sports.

“That was the toughest job,” says Kane about weekend sports. “I remember going down to the Olympics and covering that with ‘Live at 5.” And then, I went to the Olympics in 1996 with Robin Wilhoit.”

With her oldest, Kelsea, by her side, she ran the Olympic flame through Knoxville that same year.

“We got to go down Chapman Highway and we all met back up at the World’s Fair site because that’s where Pat was lighting the torch for Knoxville. That was really neat getting to do that.”

After 18 years in TV, she took a hike - literally - with Covenant Health, leading trail adventures and helping others achieve healthier lives.

“I love hitting the trail and I love taking people out.”

Her older daughter, Kelsea, followed in her footsteps on the UT Women’s Track Team.

And her younger daughter, Gracie, is on a swim team.

“And, it’s like foreign to us.”

Missy and her husband Jim Bemiller of 21 years are new to the sport of swimming.

“Jim, we call him, ‘Coach B.’”

A UT teacher and renowned pole vault coach.

“I just love him to death and he’s such a good person, good coach and loves to give back. And, he’s such a good dad.”

Missy Kane.

“I just can’t imagine ever leaving this place.”

HomeGrown in Tennessee.

Before You Leave, Check This Out