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Adrian Peterson is on pace to crack 14,000 career NFL rushing yards in 2016, which would put him third on the all-time list. But he has his eye on accomplishing a different feat of speed that year: He wants to compete for Team USA in the 400 meters at the Rio Summer Olympics.

For Peterson, it's not just some fantasy. It's in his genes. In 1983, Adrian's mother, Bonita Jackson, won the Texas 3A state championship in the triple jump, the long jump, the 100 meters, and the 200 meters. "She was a world-class sprinter," says Peterson. "To have a mom who competed at a high level and really knows what comes with it -- all the attention and the criticism -- is so important to me."

At one time, it seemed that Peterson might follow in his mom's footsteps. Like Jackson, Peterson was a track star in high school -- he says he ran the 400 meters in 47.6 seconds, and his best 100-meter time was a 10.19. Jackson would give him tips on his running form and how to explode around the curves of the track. "I always went into a race with the mindset that I had to be the best I could every single day," says Jackson. "So I tell Adrian, if you go out there and give it one hundred percent, I'm proud of you."

Text: Julia Morrill
Photo: ROBERT SEALE FOR SPORTS ILLUSTRATED

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