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Huntsville native going for the Gold as he prepares for the Tokyo Summer Olympics

Published: Jul. 7, 2021 at 11:31 PM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - The excitement is building for the Tokyo Olympic Games and there’s an even bigger sense of pride this year since the Tennessee Valley has three homegrown athletes headed to represent team USA.

JuVaughn Harrison, also known as, Mr. Jumps, is headed to the Tokyo Summer Olympics!

At the U.S. trials, Harrison took the top spot in both the high jump and long jump to punch his ticket to the games. He’ll be the first American since Jim Thorpe in 1912 to compete in both events.

”Whenever it comes to these history-making moments in my career, these world-breaking moments, I don’t really know that they are happening until I’m done competing,” said Harrison.

Well, he knows now, only adding to the pressure for this Colombia High School Grad and LSU standout.

”I want to win, I’m seeded in a very good position to win both. So if I could be the first person to ever win the long and high jump at the Olympics, that would be one of the best accomplishments I could have on my resume,” added Harrison.

It’s no secret these upcoming games are very different, postponed a full year, coming with added protocols. Two COVID tests 90 hours ahead of the flight to Japan, an app to track athletes’ every move and a lockdown of the Olympic village. There won’t be any time for sightseeing.

”It kind of hurts to not get the full Olympic experience, getting there a week before, the opening ceremony, torch all of that getting to watch the whole “shabang” and then going an competing in the Olympics.”

But the competition is the focus for Harrison.

“I pray before I jump always, during warm-ups, I listen to music, that’s my go-to. I have to listen to music or it just doesn’t feel right.”

He’ll also have his important lucky charm.

”This chain and the pendant is a picture of me and my mom when I was a baby and she gave it to me when I turned 18 and it doesn’t leave my neck,” Harrison explained.

It’s in his blood, his mother is also in the Alabama A&M hall of fame for track and field.

You can catch all the action from the torch lighting to the closing ceremony and everything in between right here on WAFF starting July 23rd.

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