DeLoach takes a no-fear, no-worries attitude into Worlds

August 25, 2015

Janay DeLoach track

Janay DeLoach

Janay DeLoach of Fairbanks is playing with house money.

The 29-year-old long jumper didn’t figure on qualifying for this year’s IAAF World Championships after an injury forced her to switch her takeoff leg.

So anything goes in Beijing, China.

“There’s nothing I can lose at this point because I’m already further than where I thought I’d be,” she told The Coloradoan. “I feel blessed, and I’m going to go with it.”

DeLoach, of Eielson High fame, didn’t plan to switch jumping legs until she broke her left ankle two years ago. She won an Olympic bronze medal and four U.S. National Championships jumping her left leg.

She had two surgeries and spent a ton of time training and rehabbing but the injury never fully healed and this year she made the commitment to jump solely off her right foot.

Then she shocked the world by jumping 6.95 meters to win the bronze medal at the USATF Championships in June.

It was significant because no woman has ever jumped 7 meters [22 feet, 11½] inches on each foot.

DeLoach is the closest.

“I had so much self-doubt at the beginning of the year,” she told me in June. “In all honesty you have your good days and you have your bad days, but it’s the bad days where you have to push through and keep your head up no matter what, even if you feel like ‘What’s the point?’ because I’ve realized at the end of the day I had it in me to still jump far with my right leg. I did what I had to do to get here and it’s all been worth it.”

Even on her right foot, DeLoach remains a medal contender this week as only four women in the world have jumped farther than the Alaskan.

The women’s long jump begins Wednesday with prelims with the finals Thursday.