At The 13th World Championship in Athletics in Daegu, Korea the mens high jump final was won by American Jesse Williams at 2.35m. The 28 yr old from Eugene is the no. 1 jumper in the world after a very consistent year jumping a new outdoor personal best of 2.37m. He is also the first American to win gold at the world champs since Charles Austin in 1991.
I like Jesse. I saw him jump live at the Bislett games here in Oslo earlier this year. That was a very wet event with brainless officials…. So my friend Dietmar Mogenburg (1984 Olynpic Gold, WRi 2.39m) invited me and my partner Julia to watch the final at his lovely house outside Oslo with his daughter Katrina, who also jumps. This was a treat as Dietmar is a quite a funny guy and very animated about jumping, much like me. We were both disappointed that my old friend and training partner Tom Parsons of Great Britan did not make the finals, with a below par performance in the qualifying of 2.25m. We were also disappointed that the final did not contain the top jumpers in the world this year with the exclusion of Andrey Silnov the 2008 Olympic Champ. The world final should be about the best 12 jumpers in the world, if 10 of them are Russian then so be it. Nations should not be restricted to the number of entries if the athletes are good enough. I just want to see the best fight it out. Dietmar agreed and we discussed Silnov´s big knee technique. As for Jaroslav Bába, two different shoes, a crazy curve run up and a weird knee twitch clearly eats away at Dietmars soul. Every time Bába jumped Dietmar would physically turn his back on the TV and cover his eyes as if poisoned gas had entered the room. Even in retirement he does not want to corrupt his mental image of jumping with that stuff. This is a tactic that I have often encouraged during competition so the jumper can focus on their own mental image and technique.
This is exactly what Jesse did with great success. He stated that he had not done this since college and will do it again allowing him to focus on himself. Jesses concentration levels through the final were very high and it was good to see a focused athlete perform to their best.
Jesse is not your typical whooping American track & field champion, thanking god for making the others lose. He comes across well spoken, very realistic and humble to be as good as he is. Without a trace of arrogance he stated that he has been planing to win the world tile since last year and knew it was possible after constantly jumping high with a target of 2.37m. It was his 5th world champs, 3rd outdoors for the Oregon Track Club jumper after missing the 2009 championships.
Jesse liked Korea as a venue because of the high prize money in Asia now in athletics, “Its where the interest is”. He also said it would be “a childhood dream to win the Olympics” in London 2012. So I wish you all the best for next year and hope your winter training goes well Jesse. Here is the video.