Normally, Ole Miss star jumper Brittney Reese has a nonchalance about her during competition that teammates envy.
It never mattered how big the stage. Reese would just chill in the infield or up in the stands, with her iPod blaring some gospel tunes as she quietly waited to obliterate another field of long jumpers.
But as the U.S. Olympic Trials approach next week, Reese has started to get the feeling of something she hasn’t ever felt in relation to her athletic pursuits – nerves.
“I’ll admit it. I’m starting to get a little nervous – a little excited,” said Reese, a 21-year-old junior from Gulfport. “I’m not sure what it’s going to be like out in Oregon with that big crowd. But I’m ready. I’m jumping the best I ever have.”
Reese, who recently jumped 22-feet, 9-inches to win the NCAA outdoor championships, is the favorite to win the long jump at University of Oregon’s storied Hayward Field. She’s tied with Russia’s Karin Mey for longest jump in the world this year.
Another 22-foot, 9-inch jump at the Olympic Trials should be good enough to get her a spot on the U.S. Team, which will take the top three athletes to August’s Beijing Olympics.
But if she wants to earn an Olympic medal in Beijing, she knows that her elusive goal of jumping 23 feet probably needs to be obtained.