Islander jumps to new heights

Charles Reid
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Triple jumper McCormack wins his first senior gold at recent track and field nationals

Souris native Kurt McCormack displays his gold medal while with his parents Myrtle and Tommy at the 2013 Canadian track and field championships in Moncton recently.

A gold medal isn’t bad considering Kurt McCormack’s been out of the triple jump loop for a while.

Nor should anyone have ever counted out McCormack, who began jumping into a homemade pit years ago in Souris, given he’s spent much of his career training without a full-time coach.

McCormack jumped an event-best 14.48 metres at the recent Canadian track and field championships in Moncton and added to his growing medal total with his first senior gold medal. He didn’t qualify last year.

“It has been a long two years without competing at the nationals due to injuries, and after all the downs it feels good to be up on the podium with a first place win,” said McCormack. “I knew I could jump this well considering I jumped this far five years ago, but with very little training . . . due to personal reasons. I was very happy. My goal going into the event was to win. I had the support of my family (in Moncton) and it helped tremendously.”

Over his career, McCormack also has won gold at the under-17 nationals and under-19 junior nationals, and silver and bronze from the senior nationals.

In four years at Dickinson State University, McCormack nabbed several all-American honours in indoor and outdoor triple jump and won two straight events at the Dakota Athletic Conference outdoor championships.  He finished third at the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics outdoor finals as a junior.

He added long jump at the beginning of his final year at the North Dakota school, where he graduated with a fitness and criminal justice degree two years ago. In his final season, he set a new outdoor personal best in triple jump (15.10 metres) and a season-best outdoor long jump of 7.32 metres, an outdoor record for a P.E.I.

Since graduating with a fitness and criminal justice degree, he’s been training others (up to 300 clients per week) at a fitness company in Denver, Colo., and is soon to be married and to be a father. But, despite all that,  he’s still ogling bigger prizes.

“Now that I have a fiancé (Marine) and a baby on the way in December my training will take a step back, and then (I’ll) get back into it for next year's nationals. I plan on jumping a lot farther this time next year. I still have my eye on the 2016 Olympics held in Rio, Brazil. It has always been my dream to go to the Olympics and it’s people like (two-time Olympian) Jared Connaughton who inspire me to keep training and stay focused,” said McCormack, a bronze medal-winner in triple jump at the 2009 Canada Games.

“For right now I am relaxing at home enjoying the company of my family and getting ready to be husband and a father. Life is moving at the speed of light, but I enjoy every second of it and I go to bed with a smile on my face.”

Organizations: Dickinson State University, National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics, North Dakota school

Geographic location: Moncton, Souris, Denver, Colo. Rio Brazil

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