It has been a life-changing summer for former Mansfield Lake Ridge track star Jasmine Moore — and one that the city of Mansfield wants to cherish.
Moore qualified for her first Olympics by placing third in the triple jump at the U.S. Olympic Trials. She leaves Saturday to fly to Tokyo, where she will begin competition at the Games at 5:05 a.m. July 30.
Mansfield ISD hosted a send-off for Moore, with a long caravan of cars starting at Vernon Newsom Stadium and driving to Danny Jones Middle School to see and honor Moore. Moore, a nine-time state champion at Lake Ridge (including four each in the triple jump and long jump), was recognized by Mansfield ISD superintendent Kimberley Cantu and Mansfield mayor Michael Evans as friends, family and members of the community gathered to show their support.
“This is a historic day,” Evans said. “We don’t see this all the time. At just 20 years old, Jasmine Moore will be the youngest of the three women who will compete for the U.S. in triple jump at the Tokyo Olympics.”
Moore got a bit choked up as she addressed the crowd.
“First, I want to say thank you so much for everyone that came out and supported me,” Moore said. “I’ve been in Mansfield since second grade, and to see my friends from elementary school still here, and they still come to all my meets, it means the world. I’ve just wanted this for such a long time. To finally be able to compete and represent Team USA in Tokyo, I’m just so grateful, and it’s such a big honor. It really has been a team effort since elementary school.”
As a high school senior, Moore broke the state record and the national record for high school-only competitions by winning the Class 6A state title in the triple jump with a leap of 44 feet, 10 inches. Moore ranks 20th in the world this year with a personal-best jump of 47-2.50, according to Track & Field News, and she jumped 46-5.25 at the Olympic Trials.
She will likely need to set a new PR in order to medal at the Olympics. Seven women in the world have jumped 48-0 or better in 2021, according to Track & Field News, and Yulimar Rojas from Venezuela has jumped 50-7.50.
Preparation for the Olympics isn’t the only thing that Moore has had to worry about. She recently decided to leave the University of Georgia after coach Petros Kyprianou and the school parted ways, and Moore has transferred to Florida for her final two years of college.
Moore did an interview with media members Thursday about her upcoming trip to the Olympics. Here is what she had to say.
This seems overwhelming. What is it like seeing everybody out here?
“It’s obviously something I’ve worked so hard for such a long time. To finally be here, and to have everyone’s support, it means so much. Everyone has really played a big part in my journey to get to this level.”
You’ve worked a really long time for this. Talk about the rigors of your training.
“I started off track in the fifth grade, and then I picked up jumping in middle school. Competing at the collegiate level, it’s a lot of time and a lot of things that I have sacrificed personally just to have this moment right here, and I kept saying it would be worth it if I make this Olympic team. Making it just goes to show that all of my hard work really did pay off.”
Did you feel like the Olympics getting postponed a year really helped you with your training and made it possible to qualify for the Olympics?
“Yes, I definitely think it did. It gave me an opportunity to get faster and stronger, which has definitely helped on the runway. This year, I PRed in both of my events (the triple jump and long jump), had two Olympic standards and made the Olympic team, so I’m very grateful I had this extra year to prepare.”
What are you looking forward to most about your trip to Tokyo?
“Probably just competing on the largest world stage and competing against so many athletes that I’ve looked up to, and to wear the USA, that is probably the thing that I’m most excited for — that I can do because of COVID.”
Some athletes have already been knocked out of the Olympics because of COVID. Is that a concern of yours, and how are you preparing?
“Of course it’s a concern because this pandemic has been going on for a very long time. I’m vaccinated, I plan to follow all of the protocols, wear my mask and stay safe and as far from everybody as I can.”
What is it going to be like with your friends and family not being allowed to attend?
“It does suck. My parents have come to every meet, so for them to miss the biggest meet of my career is very unfortunate. But I understand the rules and regulations that they have. I know they will be cheering for me back at home.”
Has it hit you that you are going to the Olympics?
“Not really, but moments like this, that is when it hits, and that’s why I get so emotional. I got really emotional at the Olympic Trials as well, because the time and effort it takes to become an Olympian, I don’t think people understand. For me to make this goal so early on, it’s very emotional.”
What would it mean to have a shot at the gold?
“No American woman has medaled in the triple jump, so for me, if I could do that, it would be amazing. I’m going with two other amazing triple jumpers [Keturah Orji and Tori Franklin]. I think this is the most solid the U.S. has ever gone with.”
What type of jump do you think it will take to medal?
Pushing it to 15 meters [49 feet, 2 inches]. The competition just keeps getting better and better every year.”
Have you thought about turning pro while you are still in college, or do you want to wait to do that after college?
“No, I’m going to finish my time at the University of Florida and then after that I will see what the future holds.”
What is the best part of this whole send-off?
“Just to have all the support and see so many people that have made an impact in my life along the way. To see my second-grade teacher, that meant a lot. To this day, she is still my favorite teacher. I always talk about that class. Just to see her, and then my friends from elementary school and my coaches from middle school, and all of my family’s friends, it’s just amazing.”
What is your go-to playlist?
“I love Lil Wayne, so normally I’m blasting ‘Let It All Work Out’ by Lil Wayne. That’s like my theme song for my life, so I’m always listening to that song before I compete.”
You did competitive cheerleading when you were growing up. Did you ever imagine you would be going to the Olympics back then?
“Not really. I always wanted to go to college and do competitive cheerleading, but I’m so thankful that everything worked out the way it did and I’m going to the Olympics for track and field.”
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