MILILANI, Hawaii - In the sultry, harmonious melody of the blues, Eric Clapton once sang, "Nobody knows you when you're down and out." Adriane Stone knows this feeling firsthand. Less than two years ago, Stone was at the lowest point in her life. She was alone. Once a budding high school track and field star ranked tenth in the nation in the high jump in 1996, as well as a 2000 U.S. Olympic track and field trials finalist, Stone turned her back on her dream when her father passed away. "He was my inspiration," said Stone. "When he was gone, I stopped believing in God and myself." For the next seven years, Stone drifted through an uncertain life raising a family and living her mere existence paraded with alcohol, smoking, drugs and constant partying. "I drank to wash away the fears of the life I was living," said Stone. "I was obese, unhealthy and depressed." In August of 2006, her husband, Sgt. Kenneth Stone, 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division, left for Iraq and Stone was left to raise her three children, then ages 9 months 1, and 4, during the duration of the 15-month deployment. Her daily routine followed an all-too-predicable course of juggling her children's needs around her own addictions. "I woke up a few months later and realized my life was spinning out of control," said Stone. "I put all my strength in the Lord to break the cycle I was on, and he spoke to me." Stone explained she was called out of "retirement" through spirituality and knew she had to regain her previous accomplishments in track and field. Within the first month of sobriety, Stone lost 30 pounds and began training more and more. She has since dropped 80 pounds and continues to train everyday. January 12, 2008, Stone took her first leap over the high jump crossbar in seven years. "I was once defeated by my own life," said Stone. "But there is hope in hopeless situations." A few months later, Stone cleared six feet, meeting the "B" standard during the Sunset Meet at Cooke Field and qualified for the U.S. Olympic track and field trials for the second time around. Hopes of bringing home the gold rests on her performance at the U.S. Olympic track and field trials in Eugene, Oregon. Stone is set to jump June 30 at 7:15 p.m. (4:15 p.m. Hawaii time.) The USA network will broadcast the trials. The top three finishers in each event, along with three alternates, will qualify for Olympic competition in Beijing, China. Stone trains everyday, physically and spiritually, and jumps three times a week. The 28-year-old also passes on her skills to the Trojan high jumpers at Mililani High School as the head high jump coach in exchange for use of the facilities. "I'm jumping a lot higher since coach (Stone) started here," said sophomore Andrew Longboy. "It's nice to have someone who can explain and show you what you need to do." With the support of her family, community and faith in God, Stone has overcome many adversities and continues to strive. My body is getting stronger and so is my walk with the Lord," said Stone. "I guess they go hand-in-hand."
Cheer on Adriane Stone during the high jump trials, June 30 at 4:15 p.m., Hawaii time, on the USA network.