WEDNESDAY, JUNE 6: If she had to choose, Arantxa King would prefer to make the Olympics over winning the NCAA long jump championship this weekend.
But in a perfect world, King is bidding for dream double in Des Moines, Iowa by claiming her first US national collegiate title alongside punching her first Olympic ticket.
King is just 0.10cm from making the Olympic B standard and just 0.20cm from the A Standard having jumped 6.55m this season.
The Stanford standout will be one of four seniors — and 17 total — representing her school at the NCAA National Championships.
Two years ago, King won a silver in the long jump.
She sat out last year after having a long-needed surgery and says she is in the best shape of her life heading into the NCAAs.
“I haven’t been 100 per cent since I’ve been at college. That’s the reality for me — it’s not something I seek pity for.”
She messed up her knee her freshman year in university and had a couple of surgeries but it never healed properly.
“I competed with a lot of pain and could only do jump practice once a week. I basically had to work on my fitness and run.
“I’m as close to 100 per cent as I’ve been for a while and can do jump practice three times a week — That’s normal for a jumper but something I haven’t been able to do until this year.”
She said prior to this year, sheer will has carried her to great lengths, but King has been able to work on her technique this season.
“I had a lot of errors and problems with my jumping and I’ve been able to address that. I have to be optimistic about the upcoming week.”
King said the hype and atmosphere from the NCAA championships should help her jump further.
“Sometimes I do envy the runners because you have that immediate competitiveness of having them right next to you. That’s something the jumps doesn’t have.
“I go into every meet with the same mentality — I have to jump far, but at the end of the day I’m out there on my own.
“But Nationals does bring out the competitiveness of people because of the environment it creates and it’s the pinnacle of the season.”
She said the long jump title could go to any one of a handful of people because everyone is jumping well.
King said it would be “ideal” for her to make the Olympic qualifying standard at nationals.
“I would like to hit the mark and I have been jumping well. I know for a fact I can jump the mark but I have had a minor foul.
“Winning and getting the standard would be the best possible situation. Even if I don’t win, making the standard would be amazing because it opens up the summer to me leading up to the Olympics.
“Olympic dreams are a little bit higher than NCAA dreams, I would take that sacrifice, but at the end of the day I want to be the best competitor and hopefully I can get both.”