Tara Davis-Woodhall More Motivated To Win In Paris After Budapest Silver

Out Of The Blocks

February 26, 2024

Tara Davis-Woodhall joins the show just days after winning the U.S. Indoor Track and Field Championships. She went 7.18m for the world lead, the second longest mark in U.S. women’s history and moved her to No. 6 on the all-time world list. Last year, she earned her first global championship medal with a silver at the World Championships in Budapest.

She is the U.S. long jump favorite for the 2024 U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials, where she’ll try to make her second Olympic team. She was sixth at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021.

She caught up with Jasmine Todd for a conversation on her mindset and training for the Olympic year – plus, what her initial thoughts are on World Athletics' proposal to change the long jump.

NOTABLE QUOTES (Lightly edited for space and clarity)

On why she popped off at the U.S. Indoor Championships

“Truthfully, this training season, I have been grinding like I’ve never grind before. I think getting second in Budapest was a blessing in disguise. Last year, I was working hard but wasn’t doing the last rep of abs or finishing the last rep of 150s as hard as possible. I was going through the motions. This year, I am taking every rep and making it like my first rep…This year, I am just giving myself a chance. It’s almost insane to watch myself do this because I’ve never been that die-hard of a track athlete. This year, I’m honing in on that. I think that also comes with my maturity in the sport. I’m turning 25 this year. I feel like I’m getting older and figuring out the way of life a little bit.”

Her reaction to the jump:

“I knew it was a big jump because I had never been that far in the pit. I was like, ‘Oh god. Honey, we are deep. We are in the other half of this thing. This is wild!’ That’s where my reaction came from. That’s when I said, ‘Give it to me!’”

Goals for the World Indoor Championships in Glasgow:

“Honestly, just keep doing what I’ve been doing in practice. I am not putting any pressure on myself because I know if I do everything at least 80% correct, it’s going to be a good jump. It’s my first World Indoors so I’m going to go in like a little kid saying, ‘Woah! This is cool!’”

Her training group’s mentality:

“It is: Grind all day. We have a whole different vibe this year than last year because we did get two second-place finishes. We had someone not finish in the triple jump because of injury. There was also Jamaica’s Carey McLeod, who slipped off the board and couldn’t finish because he injured himself. We have this vengence. You can feel it in the group. We come here every day to work hard. No one is slacking. If you give us something, we’re going to do it. Last year, if you gave us something then maybe we wouldn’t finish a rep because we were too tired. There’s no excuses this year. I am thriving off that.”

Thoughts on the World Athletics’ proposal to change the long jump

“First read, I’m like, ‘Oh, interesting! OK’ But then I’m like, ‘Every jump counts?’ There’s no foul line? So does that mean the board is going to be bigger? Probably. So how much bigger? OK. Weird. Well, how are we going to watch that? Who is going to watch that when we go to high school meets? This does not make any sense to me. How are you going to change a rule that has been around for 150 years? Plus, the whole point of the long jump is to not go over the foul line – in the grand scheme of things, if you’re trying to explain it to someone on the street. It mind boggles me that’s what World Athletics is trying to change right now when there’s so many other things that need to be changed in the sport. At this moment, I don’t agree due to the fact that I don’t think that it makes any sense.

When they said a third of the jumps were fouls at World Championships, I was like, ‘Well, let’s do a deeper dive than it being the board.’ Do you think the marker was pulled out correctly? Do you think maybe the track is a little fast? Maybe the board is a little scary and people are afraid so people are trying to do something. I don’t agree with it. I think they’re a little ahead of themselves.

Why aren’t they asking us? Why aren’t they asking world champions and Olympic champions in the event if this is a smart idea? I guarantee it – if they do ask us, we’re going to tell them, ‘Hell no. Absolutely not.’ Can you at least put us on TV?

I don’t see how it’s going to grow the sport at all. I think it’s actually going to hurt the sport more than it’s going to grow anything.

If you could innovate and fix the long jump, what would you fix?

“Probably the sand. Everyone has to have a standard sand. Each sand is different. Each pit is different. You’re probably getting centimeters taken off from your landing than you are gonna be from your takeoff. I’m probably not the best person to ask because my issue is my landing and the spray. I would also change the officials and make sure everyone is universally correct on where they put the marker.”

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Jasmine Todd

A silver medalist at the 2015 World Champs in Beijing in the 4 x 100m relay, Jasmine Todd still competes at the elite level in the long jump and brings a wealth of knowledge and enthusiasm for the sport as a whole, but particularly the jumps and sprints to CITIUS’s event coverage.

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