Brian Johnson earns US Olympic Team Spot in Long Jump
Willie Davenport, Rodney Milburn, and now, Brian Johnson — SU Olympians. Brian Johnson solidified his name in Southern athletic lore forever, as he finished second in the long jump today at the US Olympic Trials in Eugene, OR.
Johnson had the leading jump on the trials heading into today’s long jump finals. On Friday, Brian leaped 8.09m (26-06.50 ft), outdistancing eventual winner, Travell Quinley, by 3 inches. On Sunday, Trevell Quinley lept 8.36m (27-05.25 ft) to take the win over Johnson, who had a second place jump of 8.30m (27-02.75 ft), while Miguel Pate finished third. “I felt pretty good today. I felt okay. A little jittery at first but it is kind of the biggest meet of your life so you just try to keep your composure. Once I started to feel it, I started getting where I needed to be. So overall I felt good. I am on the team. I wanted to win, but I let it slip away from me, but I guess the biggest thing is I am on the team and I live to go to Beijing”, said Brian Johnson.
Brian Johnson is a former SU Jaguar two-sport athlete (basektball and track), and is the US’s number one ranked long jumper. Johnson is also an assistant coach for the Southern Jaguars Track team.
Johnson has three of the top seven jumps in the world this year and entered the US Olympic Trials with the top wind-legal mark of 27-2 3/4. He was the 2006 USA Outdoor champion and was part of the 2005 World Championships team. He ranks fourth in the world. “My main thing is staying healthy. The distances will get further and further if I stay healthy”, replied Johnson. Although Johnson trains with former LSU assistant Boo Schexnayder, Brian says he dedicated his performance to SU head Track Coach, Johnny Thomas. Thomas has been ill for some time now, and has taken a leave of absence from SU.
The Beijing (China) 2008 Olympic Games are August 8-24, 2008.