Thursday, January 20

Harrison’s American ankle

  • The American team, winner of 2,520 medals in the history of Olympic athletics, appears in Japan with a double high and long jumper.

  • Only the historic Jim Thorpe, in 1912, had dared with both jumps, something that great sprinters like Owens or Lewis had rejected.

Athletics kicks off this Friday, at 2 am in the Spanish morning, with the qualification of the men’s high jump, in which the innovative American athlete will take part Juvaughn Harrison, surprisingly capable of combining the high jump and the long jump with extraordinary results.

With a total of 2,520 medals leading up to the Tokyo Games, the United States Olympic team seems set to continue to shine as the foremost sports powerhouse of the modern era. Athletics, with 795 metals, represents its javelin point and in the powerful selection of the stars and stripes, this time two figures stand out for their records, Ryan crouser, a 145-pound Portland boy who throws the weight at 23.37 meters (a world record set during the trials) and Sydney mclaughlin and his 51.90 in 400 hurdles, also a universal record already achieved in the ‘trials’ held in Eugene at the end of last June. But there is much more.

Transversal team

Crouser Y McLaughlin represent the enormous drive of a transversal team, in which the maternal maturity of a 35-year-old sprinter like Allyson Felix and her nine Olympic medals stands out, together with the youthful self-confidence of a 17-year-old sprinter named Erriyon Knihgton, credited to his age with a better time in 200 meters (19.84 seconds) than that of the great Usain bolt with 19 years (19.93). But, above all, the innovative versatility of a phenomenon called Juvaughn Harrison, an athlete 21 years old and 1.93 meters tall, capable of practicing the high jump and the long jump, scratching at a very high level. And with the same or similar skill in both specialties, judging by his records: 8.46 meters in the horizontal jump and 2.33 in the vertical. Never seen since Jim Thorpe in the 1912 Games in Stockholm he competed in both specialties, although he failed to get on the podium in either of them, executed without a race.

Thorpe, of Native American descent, he is considered one of the best athletes of the 20th century. Versatile like no other athlete, he was able to successfully combine athletics, swimming, basketball, baseball or American football, among other skills.

Recognition in 1984

‘Indian Thorpe at the Olympics’, he titled ‘The New York Times’ in 1912. Then the racist bias did not matter so much and as it would happen to Jesse Owens after the Berlin Games in 1936, already Carl lewis in 1983, Thorpe he was charged with covert professionalism. The puritanical IOC of that time withdrew his Olympic golds in pentathlon and decathlon in 1913, achieved in Stockholm in 1912. Juan Antonio Samaranch, at the head of the IOC, restored his titles before the 1984 Games in Los Angeles, as an act of sports justice .

A rising value

The ‘look’ and skills that she now sports Harrison They show that, fortunately, times have changed and originality is a rising value. “I have never seen an athlete who combines these two jumps with that skill,” he says. Ramon Torralbo, coach of Ruth Beitia, the reigning Olympic high jump champion. Torralbo he also trains long jumpers and reaffirms that jumping techniques are completely different. “At the height, the slowest race of all the jumps, length, triple and pole is executed. The last two steps are fast but you have to control well so that the centrifugal force does not deviate you from the trajectory because the race is in a curve. The length is pretty much the opposite, you need a long straight run to get as fast as you can before hitting. ” Hence great sprinters like Jesse owens OR Carl lewis They have also been great jumpers, but none dared with the vertical jump. “Harrison It must be a marvel to control the two specialties, perhaps a genetic gift that makes him different “, he says. Torralbo.

“To combine these two jumps, Harrison must have an ankle of the ciborium “, emphasizes Francisco Martin Morillas, the first Spaniard to use the revolutionary back-jump technique invented by the American Dick Fosbury, to break the Spanish record, 2.22 meters in 1979.

Polish technique

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“If you are a good long or triple jumper you can be high, and vice versa, but in the case of the vertical jump you need to polish the technique a lot, especially the crossing of the bar. You can unleash a brutal blow against the ground and rise up Above the bar, it is not difficult, I have seen basketball players do it, for example, but then bending over to pass the bar is something else, it requires a lot of practice, sensitivity for spatial balance, an approach with a curved path in the race … .very complicated, a lot of technical work is needed to do it well “, sums up the Granada-born jumper.

So much so that the bet of Harrison for the vertical and horizontal jump to the maximum level is unprecedented. His schedule during this first athletic weekend at the Tokyo Olympics is dizzying: Friday, high qualification; Saturday, length rating. If he passes the cut at two o’clock, on Sunday he would contest the vertical final and the next day the horizontal one.

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