Inside Track

The Natural: Jager hopes to lower U.S. record in steeplechase

STANFORD, Calif. – Talk about a fast learner. Former 1,500-meter runner Evan Jager didn’t try his first 3,000-meter steeplechase race until 2012, and by 2014, he was ranked No. 2 in the world.

So much for years of hard work, dedication and sacrifice. Even so, his introduction to the barriers-and-water jumps event was not without its mishaps.

He can laugh about it now but he surely wasn’t chuckling much on that spring day in 2012 at the Oxy High Performance meet at Occidental College in Los Angeles in one of his first steeplechase races.

“I completely missed the barrier on …


Taking a turn for the better

It wasn’t until she stopped gliding and started spinning that Raven Saunders’ life took a turn for the better.

Make that a turn-and-a-half.

As a high school junior in Charleston, S.C., a couple of years ago, Saunders was a middling shot putter with a best of 42 feet, not nearly far enough to set the hearts of college recruiters racing. Then she told her coach at Burke High School, Herbert Johnson, that she wanted to try the spin, or rotary technique.

At just under 5-foot-5, the spin seemed better suited for her frame.

“I knew she wasn’t going to be …


World-class athletes headline Portland 2016 Countdown Celebration

Fifteen of the world’s greatest track and field athletes will headline a star-studded lineup of Olympic gold medalists, world record-holders and World Champions at the Portland 2016 Countdown Celebration on Wednesday, May 27 from 3-7 p.m. at Pioneer Courthouse Square.
Over the course of their professional careers, this illustrious group has combined to establish seven world records and compete in 18 Olympic Games, ranging from the 2000 Summer Games in Sydney to the 2012 Olympics in London. During that span, they collected three gold medals and one silver medal.
At the IAAF World Championships, …


Best still to come for U.S. triple jumper Taylor

When Christian Taylor mentions that he’s been bouncing from place to place since leaving the University of Florida in 2011, the man means what he says – literally as well as figuratively.

As the world’s No. 1-ranked triple jumper in 2014 and the reigning 2012 Olympic champion, few are better at bouncing than him.

Just last week, in one of the best triple jump duals ever, Taylor set a personal best of 59 feet, 2 ¼ inches (18.04m) at the season-opening Diamond League meeting in Doha, Qatar.

He was upstaged at that meet by …


Portland 2016 Countdown Clock to be unveiled

What’s 19 feet tall, weighs 3,945 pounds, keeps accurate time down to the second and will soon be unveiled at Pioneer Courthouse Square in downtown Portland as the promotional centerpiece for a world-class sporting event?

Allow me to introduce the Portland 2016 Countdown Clock.
Locally designed and built, this iconic clock features multiple digital display modes that speak to the city’s energy, innovation and technology. It will be officially unwrapped during the Portland 2016 Countdown Celebration at Pioneer Courthouse Square on Wednesday, May 27 from 3-7 p.m.

On that day, the clock will begin to count down the days, …


Dendy keeps Gator tradition alive in horizontal jumps

As it turns out, all Marquis Dendy wants to do is something only one man in history has done. That’s all.

Florida’s superb senior horizontal jumper, equally proficient in the long jump and triple jump, has his sights set on reaching 28 feet in the former and 58 feet in the latter. Only James Beckford of Jamaica has managed such a feat with his feet. He jumped 28-3 ½ in 1997 and 58-9 ½ two years earlier.

“My coach tells me, ‘Hey, 28-58,’ ‘’ Dendy said. “That’s the overall goal. I don’t want to …


Ticket plan announced for 2016 IAAF World Indoor Championships

All-session tickets for the 2016 IAAF World Indoor Track & Field Championships go on sale to the public on Thursday, May 28.

The 16th edition of the biennial meet – which features more than 600 athletes from as many as 214 different countries from around the world – will be held March 17-20 in Portland. It begins at the Moda Center with the men’s and women’s pole vault on March 17, followed by three full days of competition in a temporary 7,000-seat stadium at the Oregon Convention Center. The pole vault will be free to the public.

Before those tickets …