Calgary — Kurt McCormack won’t be triple jumping for a gold medal at the 2011 Canadian track and field championships today in Calgary, Alta., because he won’t be jumping at all.
A hamstring injury suffered in long jump qualifying on Wednesday knocked the 22-year-old triple jumper out the championships entirely. He won a silver medal in triple jump last year and now can't defend that, either.
The Souris native was already in today’s triple jump final and had qualified for Friday’s long jump final with a leap of 7.11 metres, but, said McCormack, a popping noise from his right leg on his last long jump attempt was not a welcome sound.
“By the time my third jump came I was in seventh place so I had to take my . . . final jump because only the top five moved on to Friday’s final. I had to beat 7.02 metres. As I took off from the board on my final jump I was executing my phase and going into a landing position. As I was doing so a large popping, tearing noise came from my right hamstring and I knew I did some serious damage,’’ said McCormack via email from Calgary. “A medical trainer came to the long jump area and immediately took me to the medical tent. I stayed in the tent for . . . four hours, doing everything from icing, stim flow, ace puncture, active release, to massage. In competing 16 years in track and field I have never had a hamstring injury and the doctor told me I tore my bicep femurs, a large muscle that runs on the outside of the leg. I had severe swelling and bruising and I needed assistance walking.’’
It brings a solid year for McCormack to a swift halt.
He added long jump to his events at the beginning of his final year at Dickinson State University in Dickinson, N.D., where he graduated with a fitness and criminal justice degree earlier this spring.
This 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.
Also, McCormack won the triple jump event for the second straight year at the recent Dakota Athletic Conference outdoor championships and was named outstanding field athlete of the meet.
He was ranked sixth in Calgary in triple jump before the injury.
“It was devastating day, especially when you have no coach or support with you at the time. My dad (Tommy McCormack) got in later that night and I had to break the news to him. Travelling all the way from P.E.I. to hear his son say I’m injured and I’m done, I felt as though the whole world caved in and there was nothing left to do. My father is not only my dad he is my coach and has been since I started track and field. He may not be a certified jumps coach, but he is always their for me and would never leave me hanging,’’ said McCormack.
“If I didn’t have him out here it would be pretty lonely in Calgary considering I’m here till Sunday on bed rest. He knows injuries are a part of the sport and so do I. I couldn't believe this happened but as my dad said ‘everything happens for a reason, Kurt’.’’
McCormack’s injury leaves New Haven sprinter Jared Connaughton, 25, as the lone Island competitor. He qualified for Friday’s 100-metre men’s sprint final with a third-best heat time of 10:45 on Thursday.
Jared Connaughton finished second Friday in the 100-metre finals.
Connaughton posted a time of 10.31 seconds, edging out Aaron Brown (10.39) and Donate Richards-Kwok (10.43).
San Effah had the overall best time of 10.23 seconds.
Connaughton, who competed in the 2008 Olympics, will also be running in the 200 metres, where he is a two-time champion and the holder of the Canadian record of 20.34, set in 2008.
The 200-metre preliminaries are today at 3 p.m. AT and the final is later in the day at 6:35.
As for McCormack, he returns to P.E.I. for the summer and for rest and rehab on his hamstring. Then he’s off at the end of August to train with his new coach J.T. Thiesen, associate head coach at Fresno Pacific University in California.
McCormack is taking specific goals with him, too.
“With all bad comes good. I feel as though this injury is a blessing in disguise and I will come back next year to the Olympic trials in Calgary and win it. I have claimed a bronze and silver medal at the senior level and will get gold. This sport is far from over for me, I will be back,’’ he said. “I guess at the end of the day what I’m doing is running and jumping into sand. As funny as it sounds, that’s exactly what I’m doing and I have to remember this. Track and field gets way to technical sometimes and can really get to your head. If you’re not having fun with it then the sport is pointless. I have to remember every single time I get onto the track I’m here for the fun and love of the sport.’’
McCormack won bronze in triple jump at the 2009 Canada Summer Games in P.E.I.