Lisa Owens knows the Maximum Velocity Track and Field Academy can be viewed as a bit expensive, but the Centre College track and field coach also knows there is nowhere else in Kentucky that will offer the expert instruction the camp next week at Centre does.
“Our numbers are looking OK for our second year. We will have between 100 and 150 participants. It could spike above 150, but we are going to have a good number to work with,” Owens said. “The feedback we had last year from those that came was incredible and very, very positive.”
The camp starts Wednesday night and will have sessions from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4 p.m. Thursday and Friday and a morning session the third day before camp ends.
Once again, former Olympians Jackie Joyner-Kersee and Sharrieffa Barksdale are back to oversee the camp.
Joyner-Kersee remains one of the biggest names in track and field after winning five medals in three Olympics. She won gold in the heptathlon in 1988 and 1992 as well as gold in the 1988 long jump. She also won a silver in the 1984 heptathlon and bronze in the 1992 long jump.
Barksdale competed in the 400-meter hurdles at the 1984 Olympics and was a silver medalist at the 1983 Pan American Games. She was assistant manager of the 2008 U.S. Olympic team and has the same role on this year’s team that will compete in London later this summer.
Ato Bolden is one of six new clinicians who will be at the camp. He will be in London covering the Olympics for NBC-TV.
“He was really a good sprinter, and now you see him on TV as a commentator all the time for NBC, ESPN and Universal Sports,” Owens said.
He won bronze medals in the 100- and 200-meter dashes at the 1996 Olympics and silver (100) and bronze (200) at the 2000 Olympics.
Another new clinician will be Kevin Young, the 1992 Olympic gold medalist in the 400-meter hurdles. He still holds the world record of 46.78 seconds. He was fourth in the 1988 Olympics and was the first-ever ESPY Award winner in track and field. Young was inducted into the National Track and Field Hall of Fame in 2006.
“His record may never be broken,” Owens said.
Al Joyner, Jackie’s brother, was the 1984 Olympic gold medalist in the triple jump and the 1984 Jim Thorpe Award winner.
“We are really happy to have him coming,” Owens said.
Another newcomer this year will be distance runner Dave Wottle, who equaled the 800-meter world record (1:44.3) in 172 and won the Olympic gold medal as well as the U.S. Olympic Spirit Award.
“He’s best known for wearing that white ball hat to keep that long, flowing hair out of his eyes,” said Owens, a former Mercer County and Berea College track standout. “He was not ranked to even make the Olympic finals that year and was dead last the whole race. Then with about 200 meters to go, he started passing people, went to the outside lane and won. It is considered the most unassuming gold medal ever for the United States.”
Dusty Jonas, a 2008 Olympian who held the American high jump record at 7 feet, 8 1/4 inches, won the bronze medal at the 2010 IAAF World Indoor Championships and will make his first camp appearance.
“He’s only 27 and is really a superb jumper,” Owens said.
Erin Gilreath, who holds the American record for the hammer throw (242-4) and now coaches at Indiana State, will return to work with shot and discus throwers. She competed in the 2004 Olympics and was a three-time USA outdoor champion. Pole vaulter Jeff Hartwig, a 1996 Olympian, a silver medalist at the 1999 World Championships and a former indoor and outdoor American record holder, also returns to the camp.
Francie Larrieu-Smith, a five-time Olympian from 1972-92, will be back to work with distance runners. She’s the only female track and field athlete ever to qualify for five Olympics and was named the “most versatile runner of the quarter century” by Runner's World magazine. She set 36 American records and 12 world best marks ranging from 1,000 meters to 10,000 meters.
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For more information on the camp, visit www.mvtfa.com.