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February 15, 2011 > Logan's Olympian clinic a huge success

Logan's Olympian clinic a huge success

By Sanjna Shukla
Photos By Mike Heightchew

James Logan High School in Union City held its 25th Annual Willie Davenport Olympian Clinic on Saturday, Feb. 12. The event, which was attended by over 1,500 athletes and coaches, is named after the late Olympian Willie Davenport. Davenport attended the popular clinic for years before his passing in 2002. Logan's Track and Field head coach Lee Webb is the facilitator of the event and decided to name the clinic in memory and honor of the clinic's avid supporter.

Former Olympic athletes gather at this clinic and teach aspiring athletes of all ages various skills and techniques in different events. For example, Dick Fosbury, a Gold-medalist in the high jump, taught a group of high school students strategies that will help them gain more speed and vertical. The young athletes listened intently to Fosbury who is more than qualified, as he took the Gold medal and set an Olympic record at the 1986 Olympics in Mexico City. Fosbury has been credited with completely revolutionizing the high jump.

While attending high school, Fosbury had difficulties clearing the bar, and decided to invent his own way to make the task easier on himself. And thus, the Fosbury Flop. All the high school high jumpers that were at the clinic used the Fosbury Flop method, as it has become the conventional method of clearing the bar. Fosbury worked with each athlete individually and encouraged them to find a routine that works the best for them. He is not only a distinguished athlete and coach, however. Fosbury is also the President of the World Olympians Association.

Mike Powell, the current world record holder of the long jump, was also at hand to impart his extensive athletic knowledge onto the aspiring athletes. When asked about the event, Powell responded, "This event is a great way to honor the late Davenport, and I look forward to coming here year after year."

Powell had a great time coaching the kids, but this isn't his only coaching experience. The Olympian stated that "I love to get to know the families of the athletes I'm working with. I try to get them into the best colleges possible, and sometimes all it takes is a phone call." Powell has trained athletes who have gone on to MIT, Stanford and Harvard.

About the clinic, Powell said, "If there is no conflict in my schedule, 100 percent you can count on me being here." Powell set the long jump world record at 29 feet 4.5 inches at the 1991 World Championships In Tokyo. That record still stands to this day.

Other Athletes included, Stephanie Brown, Maurice Greene and Kevin Young. Overall, the event was a great collaboration of athletes and coaches. The massive effort of the James Logan track and field staff paid off well as the clinic was a great success. There was a schedule for the clinic that included a dedicated opening and closing ceremony. The number of participants has grown exponentially over the years, and is expected to continue to do so. The clinic has become recognized nationally, as there was a representative from the USA Track and Field Association. The event is projected to have even more participants next year, so don't miss out next time!

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