I really don't know how to explain it adequately but I find myself right now in such an odd space and place. I've mentioned it before but as the World Championships for Track and Field get closer, in fact it's less than a week away, I find myself feeling wistful, a little bit sad, yet excited - all at the same time. I'm wistful because I can think back to SO many great memories that I've had over the past years and the outstanding experiences, accomplishments and friendships that I've had as a result.
I remember my very first World Championship experience, when I was still a Junior in College. I was young and uninhibited in such a way that you don't even necessarily realize that you should perhaps be intimidated by the level of competition. I had just finished coming 2nd at the Outdoor NCAA Championships that year in Eugene, Oregon and with no competitions in between, I went to Tokyo, Japan two months later with all the excitement in the world and with absolutely no fear. After all I had no expectations to do anything good or bad. I just knew I was fit and that I'd have fun.
I remember seeing Carl Lewis for the first time there. I was headed down the elevators to go to dinner and when the doors opened, there he was standing with Leroy Burrell. I was so star-struck that I didn't even take a step forward to join them on the elevator. I just stood there with my mouth agape, lol, the doors closed again, they went on their way and I was still standing there in disbelief that I had actually seen him! Yeah, I know, pretty lame:-/
Anyway, as far the LJ competition went, I laced up my spikes with the best in the world - Jackie Joyner-Kersee and Heike Dreschler and put my Bahamas uniform on and figured I had nothing to lose. The automatic qualifying mark to the finals that year was 6.65m (21ft 10 ins) and if you jumped that in any of your 3 jumps you would automatically be in top 12 jumpers to move on to the finals the next day. There were over 50 jumpers competing but Brooks told me that it would be NO PROBLEM and that I should just get it out of the way on my first jump. SO.....I did! First jump....6.66m!!!! Easy, lol (not really, considering my PR at the time was 6.62m). After that first round of jumping they took myself, Heike, JJK and all the other auto qualifiers off the field. We didn't need to watch the other 2 rounds because our spots were secure. I remember thinking man this World's stuff is easy.....surely the thoughts of a rookie!
I came back the following day and finished 10th in the finals. I think I only jumped 6.30 something. I wasn't able to duplicate my performance of the night before but what a blast I had!!!! In that meet I saw Mike Powell break the world record and Carl Lewis set the then 100m world record. It's an experience I will NEVER forget.
So as Friday is just around the corner, and I will miss competing in my 10th consecutive World Championships, I sure do wish I was there. I miss competing. I miss my friends. My Achilles is getting better and that's a blessing. Coming back from an injury is no joke let me tell you. The emotional roller coaster ride is a ride indeed. I can't wait however, to watch my teammates compete over there in Berlin. Chandra Sturrup (season's best in the 100m 10.99 at the age of 37!!!!!), Debbie Ferguson (season's best of 10.97 and 22.3), my boy Avard, my girls Joice and Brianna - to all of you, I wish you all the best. I may not be there in person, but I sure am with you in spirit!!! God's speed and blessing. I'll be watching......
I gave my best...
5 years ago