Ever since Texas Longhorn wide receiver Marquise Goodwin arrived at Texas, the most significant aspect of his narrative has been his efforts to qualify for the 2012 London Olympics. After recording a career-best jump at the Olympic Trails in Eugene, Oregon on Sunday, Goodwin has finally achieved his dream of competing for the United States in England come August.
Texassports.com summarized what Goodwin did to qualify:
Goodwin was at the top of the leaderboard for much of the day's six rounds thanks to an 8.07m (26-05.75) jump on his first attempt. The mark was unchallenged until the third round when he momentarily slipped into fourth after big jumps by William Claye, George Kitchens and Christian Taylor. However, Goodwin was able to match Claye's mark of 8.23m (27-00.00) to reclaim the top spot heading into their final three attempts.The standings held through the fourth, fifth and most of the final round so that Goodwin's Olympic qualification was guaranteed heading into the final three jumps. Claye leaped an 8.22m mark that was the second highest mark of the day after his and Goodwin's matching 8.23m attempts, putting him ahead of Goodwin before the latter's final attempt. Goodwin then unleashed an 8.33m leap that put the exclamation point on an already impressive performance.
The senior wideout shared his thoughts on his achievement:
I started off pretty good and I ended even better, so it was a good day for me. Earlier on in the year, I couldn't really get it going until the last few jumps. Popping off a good jump with no scratch helped me relax and know that I can go out there and put out an even better jump.
Head track coach Bubba Thornton chimed in as well:
To perform in front of 21,000 people on your last jump for the win at the Olympic Trials, I think that's why we call him ‘Mr. Clutch. This wasn't about yesterday, it wasn't about tomorrow, it wasn't really even about making the Olympic Team. It was really about being the best he could be today, and as he achieved that, everything else just fell into place.
The Olympics run through August 12, so Goodwin will still have time to return to Austin and spend some time practicing with the team, something he was not able to do last season while participating in the World Championships. The hope is that Goodwin can build on a strong finish to the 2011 season to finally fulfill the significant potential he showed as a freshman.
Ultimately, however, this isn't about football -- it's about the opportunity for Goodwin to bring a gold medal home to the United States. Even if he doesn't, he'll still have the considerable honor of representing his country, and by extension his university, on the world's biggest stage.
Congratulations, Marquise, and hold those horns high in London.