DeLoach-Soukup still in the mix at Worlds [Track]

August 10, 2013
Janay DeLoach

A change in her takeoff technique didn’t seem to slow down Alaska long jumper Janay DeLoach-Soukup today in Moscow.

The 27-year-old former state champion today qualified for the finals at the IAAF World Championships after jumping 21 feet, 5 inches in preliminaries. The finals are tomorrow.

DeLoach-Soukup, of Eielson High fame, is the reigning national outdoor champion, an Olympic bronze medalist and one of the best long jumpers on the planet.

Yet when she came to Russia this week she was forced to change her takeoff technique because of an injury, meaning rather than taking off with her left foot she had to switch to her right foot.

That’s like Jeter trying to be a switch hitter before the World Series.

It’s unheard of, but in this case, it was necessary for DeLoach-Soukup after she sprained her left ankle at the national championships in late June. She told that she hasn’t really been able to jump off her left foot since then.

“It’s a whole new thing,” she said before the meet. “We’re just going to go with it. I’ve been working hard on making that as natural as possible so that when I’m in the competition I don’t even have to think about. I just do it.”

So far, so good.

UPDATE: Things didn’t end up so well the following day. DeLoach-Soukup failed to make the finals and finished 11th overall, never posting a better mark than she had in qualifying.