Johnson’s leap of faith can earn double glory

Stephon Johnson is one of those sportsmen who is equally good at two disciplines. He should make the trip to the Beijing Olympics next year because he can long jump just as well as run 200 metres in a world class time.

So far Johnson, 24, has jumped 7.63 metres in competition. The qualifying distance for the B class in Beijing is 8.05m or 8.2m for the A grade. ‘I’ve definitely got an eight metre jump in me,’ he said. ‘I’ve done it many times in training, it’s just finding that level at a meet. If I hit the board right I can do it.

‘My off season training only started recently and preparation wise I need lots of events. The key is getting lots of competition. I’ll probably be doing lots of college meets in the US. And I know there’s a big one in Caracas, Venezuela in June.’

Johnson is part of coach Kenrick Williams’ track and field squad who will make the trip to China next year and hopefully come back with more than just great memories. Johnson is really focused so it’s not unusual to see him every Saturday morning working out with his track mates on Seven Mile Beach.

Williams has a strong squad vying for at least a place in the relay team but all want to test themselves in the individual events too.

Johnson has plenty of Caymanians to draw the best out of him. HKareem Streete-Thompson is the island’s top long jumper and the bunch of sprinters all capable of hitting the 200m qualifying time of 20.73 seconds means he cannot take things for granted. Johnson’s 20.92 secs best is not more than a vest’s width outside the qualifier. ‘At the moment, that is more reachable than the long jump. The best way to reach that is to run some 100m for conditioning and speed. I’m better at the 200m because you cannot afford to make mistakes in the 100m. It’s all over too quickly if you do.’