WEDNESDAY, JUNE 13: Tyrone Smith is looking to jump over eight metres at this weekend’s Powerade national Track and Field Championships.
So far Smith is Bermuda’s lone track and field athlete qualified for the London Olympics.
The long jumper says competing in front of the home crowd will be something special.
This year’s National Championships has added lustre with 16 overseas athletes coming in to test Bermuda’s best and push them.
Smith says that’s a good thing.
“This is really cool because one of the holdbacks I had from coming back to the national Championships in the past was there really wasn’t that strong of a competition for me.
“I came back in 2008 and it was a real mix of boys and girls to get real competition, but bringing in these other athletes allows me to have a field to push me to compete better.
“This is very exciting. I want to compete well and win it on the home soil.”
The Olympian said he’s not normally the spotlight athlete at a meet but here he’ll be part of the focus.
“The other events I compete at are stacked with Olympic medallists so its nice to be the highlight of the event.”
Smith said he’s struggled this outdoor season and is seeking to jump “past eight metres and anything past that is gravy.”
He added there’s a responsibility to compete in front of Bermuda’s younger track and field athletes to help keep them inspired so that there’s someone qualified for the 2016 Olympics and beyond.
“I don’t want to see us go through a lull like we kind of went through after Brian (Wellman) retired. I’m really hoping to inspire the kids so they don’t drop out.”
Smith said having competed at the Beijing Olympics, he is better equipped to deal with all the hoopla that’s involved with living in the Olympic Village.
“The difference between going now and when I went to Beijing was I was fresh out of college. There weren’t any expectations.
“I remember reading the comments in the newspaper and people weren’t expecting anyone from Bermuda to do anything. I had that underdog thing where I wanted to prove people wrong.”
Smith almost made the finals, something he hopes to accomplish in London.
“I want to be in the mix. With the PR (personal record) that I have, people do expect me to make it much further than I did last time around.
Smith’s PR is 8.22 metres and he has jumped 8.16 metres in the past 12 months. He figures anything over 8.10 metres should qualify him for the finals.
“In Beijing, I was just happy to be there. Of course, I wanted to be in the final, but now I fully expect to be in the final as opposed to just hoping I’d be there.”
The long jumper said he won’t be distracted with the things in the Olympic Village like the arcade, the MacDonald’s or seeking to grab ‘big name’ stars autographs.
His focus will be on competing.
“At the end of the day, it’s just another track meet. It won’t be my first time so I won’t be caught up in doing all the activities they have in the Village for the athletes.
“I’m just there to eat, sleep, train and compete. At the end of the day we’re there to put on a show and I don’t want to get too caught up in the activities and tourism things I can do, until after I’m done competing.