The tradition of the high jump in British Columbia is difficult to match in any other track and field event or for that matter in sport generally. Many sports fans would link Vancouver’s past in track and field to world record holders and Olympic medalists, Percy Williams and Harry Jerome but the high jump event is full of history
The 1932 Olympic Champion in the high jump, Duncan McNaughton attend attended King Edward High School at 12th Avenue and Oak Street as did Percy Williams the 100m and 200m Olympic Champion. He attended the University of Southern California prior to taking the gold medal.
The 1976 Olympic medalist, Greg Joy attended Vancouver Technical Secondary School before attending the Univerity of Texas in El Paso
Debbie Brill from Haney, BC stands as the athlete who would leave the western role and the scissors technique to be the first in the world to create the “Brill Bend”. This back jumping technique swept around the world for the last 50 years. She set the world indoor record of 1.99m and her outdoor best of 1.98m still stands as the Canadian record.
The Harry Jerome Indoor Games plays a major role in stimulating young British Columbians to discover their potential. Our best current high jumpers, Mike Mason, Django Lovett, Alyx Treasure and Alexa Propaczy have participated indoors and outdoors at Jerome events.
Will we see the next candidates to continue this tradition of excellence on February 2nd at the Richmond Olympic Oval?
Bazil Spencer of Quesnel, BC won the 2018 Canadian Legion U18 National Track and Field Championships with a personal best jump of 2.01m. Weeks earlier he was approached by Dylan Armstrong at the BC High School Championships.
"I got 1.90m but I was jumping in my running shoes and I was sort of doing it for fun," said Spencer. "Then Dylan got a hold of me and he was like 'hey, you should train with me for a couple days and we'll see if we can fix some things.'"
Clearly this did and Bazil has moved from Quesnel to finish high school in Kamloops with the Olympic medalist, Dylan Armstrong as his coach.
Aiden Grout of Langley took the silver medal in the high jump at the U18 National Championships with 1.98m just behind Bazil Spencer. Aiden has a personal best of 2.00m. In 2017 he won the U16 National Champiopnships.
Aiden was selected by Athletics Canada to join the top U18 athletes in Canada to compete at the Jamaican U18 Invitational to be held in Kingston, Jamaica where he jumped 1.95m
Liam Espedido who will represent the Richmond Kajaks, has already committed to competing at the 2019 Jerome Indoor Games on February 2. He has jumped 1.90m. At 6’ 8.5”, Liam competed for the Canadian Youth National Volleyball Team as well his high jump career.
Coaches are urged to get their entries for the Jerome Indoor Games as soon as possible. Enter here.