One Giant Leap For John Moffitt

FAYETTEVILLE -- It has been called the day which restored American dominance in the long jump.

Aug. 26, 2004 in Athens, long jumper John Moffitt helped return the United States back to podium it had so often owned in Olympic competition.

On his fifth of six jumps, Moffitt secured the silver medal with a personal-best jump of 27 feet, 9.5 inches.

"Right place. Right time. You can't beat it. I love it. We had a plan to come out here and try to sweep the thing. We were working together," said Moffitt, who leads an elite field of long jumpers in Friday's Powered by Tyson Invitational at the Randal Tyson Track Center.

American Dwight Phillips won the gold with a jump of 28-2.5.

At the 2000 Summer Games in Sydney, the United States failed to medal in the long jump for the first time since the 1980 USA-boycotted Moscow Olympics.

Of the last 19 Summer Games, only in 1964, 1980 and 2000 has the gold medal not been worn by an American.

But now, with Moffitt helping lead a resurgence of young Americans in the long jump, the expectation of continuing their dominance in the event is rekindled.

Moffitt, who finished third at the 2004 U.S. Olympic Trials to qualify for the Olympics, is no stranger to the Randal Tyson Track Center. As a senior at LSU, Moffitt captured the 2004 NCAA Indoor long jump title with a jump of 26-9.75.

"I have been there for the NCAA championships last year. I love the runway. It's nice and bouncy," Moffitt said. "When I go there, I get good results. I'm hoping to go in there and jump far."

Later in 2004, he won the NCAA Outdoor title (27-6.5).

"(2004) was a long season for me," Moffitt said. "I was still in school and competing. I went out there to the Olympics and did very well. Deep down inside, me and my coach knew I had a good chance at a medal.

"We had a game plan, and we stuck with it, and it worked."

Moffitt, ranked No. 2 in the world by Track & Field News, will face world-class competition in Friday's long jump, which is scheduled to begin at 7:15 p.m.

Defending 2004 World Indoor gold medalist, two-time USA Indoor and Outdoor champion Savante' Stringfellow will return to Fayetteville this season. Stringfellow, also a four-time NCAA champion at Ole Miss, won the Tyson Invitational last February with a jump of 27-7.25.

"I jumped my personal best back (in Fayetteville) last year," said Stringfellow, who was ranked as the world's top long jumper in 2002. "Maybe it's something about the meet, or the pride of the long jump. You're going to see something this weekend and you're going to think 'oh my goodness.'

"You always hope your event is going to be at Tyson, because it brings out the best in everybody."

Former Razorback Melvin Lister, the 2004 U.S. Olympic Trials champion in the triple jump, will join No. 8-ranked Walter Davis, and Stringfellow's training partner Miguel Pate in the long jump competition.

Hawgs Daily Top Stories