For Immediate Release
Date: January 26, 2016
Contact: Kayla Nelson (208)-244-8030
Jump the Distance
Don’t miss the long jump at this year’s Simplot Games
Pocatello, Idaho–For those unfamiliar with the event, the basics of the long jump can appear fairly simple.
“It’s like running and taking off. Just pretend like you’re jumping into a big pile of sand,” said Tara Davis, a junior long jumper from Simi Valley, Calif., who won the girls long jump at last year’s Simplot Games with a 19’10” jump.
But the long jump event takes playing in the sandbox to a whole new level.
Competitors in the event have multiple attempts to take a running start and then jump as far as they can from a line into a sand pit which marks their distance. With its origins as part of the Ancient Olympic Games, the long jump is still popular today. Athletes use speed, agility and strength to stride and jump to the limit.
“It’s very technical,” Davis said. “It looks like you’re just running and jumping into a pit of sand, but there are a lot more aspects to it.”
There are five basic stages to the long jump technique: first is the approach sprint, where the athlete creates as much velocity as possible; the second stage is the “two stride”, when the athlete prepares for takeoff by conserving velocity in the last two steps before the jump; third is the takeoff, where the athlete jumps off one foot and uses gravity and arm and knee movement to create forward momentum, or “drive”; fourth is “action in air”, which includes elements called “the hang”, “the sail”, and “the hitch kick”; and finally is the landing.
While all stages are important, the landing is key to a successful jump. Because the distance is measured by the part of the body that hits the sand closest to the takeoff line, it is important that the athlete’s hands do not fall back for they will shorten the jump distance.
Davis focuses her technique on getting as much speed as she can, creating a powerful take off, and making sure her knee movement is on point.
When asked what her favorite part of long jump was, Davis said, “The lengths I get when I am flying through the air.”
The longest jump ever recorded, inside or out, was by last year’s Simplot Games guest Olympian Mike Powell, a leap of 29’ 4-1/2”. The Simplot Games boys’ long jump record, currently held by Clarence Scott of Long Beach, Calif., is 24’ 8-1/2” set in 1996. The girls’ long jump record is 20’ 5”, set by Brittany Daniels of Tracy, Calif., in 2005.
Davis will be back this year to defend her title and chase the girls’ record. She’s also willing to pitch her event to other athletes: “If you are strong and powerful and enjoying getting high into the air, you’ll enjoy long jump,” Davis said.
More than 2,000 athletes will come from across the U.S., Canada, Mexico and Australia to participate in the 37th annual Simplot Games. Simplot Games remains the nation’s premier high school indoor track and field event. Sponsored by the J.R. Simplot Company since 1979, the Simplot Games are held at Idaho State University’s Holt Arena in Pocatello, Idaho.
For more information on Simplot Games, please visit our website at www.simplotgames.com. You may also contact Lisa Woodland at (208) 235-5673 or Simplot Games Media Team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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