FRIDAY, JULY 27: Tyrone Smith exudes confidence. The long jumper is not content with the honour of being an Olympian, he intends on making the podium in London. He’s learned from the last Olympics not to waste any jumps and figures that will help him in these Games.
How old were you when you started track and field and what got you involved in the sport?
I started in track when I was in the fourth grade. A friend of mine was competing in a youth track series in North Carolina — where I lived at the time — and her dad was coaching her. He asked me if I wanted to come along and run too. I said ‘sure’.
My first event was the standing long jump and 100m. As a high school junior, I was all state for North Carolina.
What do you enjoy about long jumping?
As a kid I was always jumping on and off of everything. I got into BMX biking and then really heavily into skateboarding. I loved flying both under my own power and in planes. I just love to be in the air.
I love to skydive and any time I’m walking on a really high bridge I think it would be awesome to jump off this thing (laughs). The long jump is the best way to stay in the air as long as possible under your own power.
Also, I love the technical complexity of the long jump. Most people think it’s really easy as you just run and jump but the physics involved are really fascinating to me.
What are you taking from the last Olympics to help you this time around?
The major lesson I learned in Beijing and then repeated itself in Daegu is never waste a jump.
Had I completed my first round jump in Beijing rather than thinking it was a foul and running through I would have made the final. Never again will I waste a jump.
How will having Arantxa King also doing the long jump add to these Olympics for you?
Over the years Arantxa and I have become really good friends.
When we competed together in Beijing I had only met her a couple times but now we are like family. It will be great to have that support structure there during training.
Besides the competition, what are you most looking forward to about the Olympics?
To be honest, I am solely focused on competing. Having been to the Olympics I know what to expect in terms of the activities available.
However, I’m not thinking about them at all. Honestly, I just can’t wait for August 3 so that I can have my shot at history.
What’s your goal for placement at the Olympics and why?
My goal for the Olympics is pretty simple — get on the medal stand by any means necessary. An athlete pours their heart and soul into preparations for the Olympics.
I feel that if you’re going and it’s not your goal to be a medal contender then you should just go get a regular job or career because it’s far more lucrative.
The stresses and trials that we as athletes go through just trying to make it to the Olympics, especially once you are out of school, are only worth it if you have every intention of being a medal contender.
That may sound harsh to some, especially considering everyone tells you how much of an honour it is just go to the Olympics.
To be fair, it is an immense honour to go, but for me going is not enough anymore.
Come the night of August 4, I mean to be on the podium. I may sound like an egomaniac or a prophet, but either way I mean what I’m saying from the bottom of my heart.Age: 27
Olympics: Tyrone competed in Beijing.
Did you know? Tyrone is the current CAC Games champion in the long jump.
Schedule: The qualifying round is scheduled for Friday, August 3 at 5:50pm (Bermuda Time with the finals on Saturday, August 4 at 5:55pm.