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My Favorite Olympian – An Essay

0 Comments 27 July 2012

Every four years the Olympics brings out some of the best athletes the world has to offer and this go round in London is no different.  Some of the accomplishments of these people can really rip at your heart strings and make routing for them nothing short of obligatory.  Whether it’s a 45 year old swimmer trying for her sixth Olympic games or amputee running without his legs the Olympics gives us someone that we didn’t know much about and now we have a chance to give them cheers on a world stage.  I will most certainly be putting my “cheers” aside for Evan Jager.

Like most of us Evan grew up just North of Chicago and began to excel at track in high school.  He was part 4 straight state championships in high school, competed at national championships and went on to the University of Wisconsin to compete for the Badgers.  However, after his freshman year Nike came calling and signed him to a professional contract making him ineligible for college competition.

Then it happened.  Evan suffered a rare and debilitating injury.  In June of 2010 he was diagnosed with a stress fracture in his foot, although doctors couldn’t pinpoint how the injury occurred they believe it may have been from the amount of running Evan was doing.  While rehabilitating from surgery with longtime coach Jerry Schumacher a discovery was made; Portland has a lot of rainfall and Jerry noticed Evan’s uncanny ability to jump over puddles.  Jerry brought in US steeplechase champion Pascal Dobert and Pascal agreed Evan should switch events and begin training for the steeplechase.

Evan entered his first “steeple” in April and won.  He followed that up at the US trials by dominating the competition and earning his spot in the 3000m steeplechase at the London Olympics.  That is when the real controversy began.  No allegations of PED’s, no sex tape.  Evan has long hair and his coach at the Olympic committee want him to cut it.  They think it will shave some time off his already impressive numbers.  When The Shade reached Evan for comment he said, “Why the hell would I want to cut my hair?  I just starting jumping over puddles this April and I’ve been pretty good at it.  Living in Oregon I have way more opportunities than the Kenyans to jump over puddles.  Plus we all know what happened to Samson.” (Samson was a gift from God that promised not to cut his hair for immortal abilities.  His girlfriend Delilah demanded that he cut his hair for their prom pictures and denied him post prom sex if he did not.  Samson wanting to get lucky after prom had a friend of Delilah’s cut his hair.  He was subsequently kidnapped by the Philistines, has his eyes stabbed out and forced into slave labor.)

After our short but sweet conversation with this candid young man my heart goes out him.  Overcoming injury, not cutting his hair for fear of Philistine revolt.  I’m with you Evan and the rest of The Shade staff is supporting your efforts to cut at your leisure and to run and jump like hell in London.  Raise your glass, “Here’s to Evan keeping his socks dry.”

The men’s 3000m Steeplechase begins Friday August 3rd.

Reins Hagglemeyer
The Shades Olympic Correspondent

- who has written 512 posts on The Shade.


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