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Tony Barton

Tony Barton says he owes his high jump career to Jesse Hannon, his high school coach. At the time, though, Barton was more likely to be seen trying to avoid Hannon. "He came to me my junior year and got me out for track," recounts Barton. "I ran one day and quit the next day. It was cross country season and I wasn't about running.

"My senior year came and he tried to get me out again because he needed more people for the track team. I kept turning him down, and finally my dad got me out there. He wanted me to stay in shape. I tried the 60 hurdles, because I didn't have to run too much, and just wanted to get a varsity letter. I took up high jumping because it involved even less running."

Barton jumped 5-8 that first meet, and went as high as 6-8.75 later in the year, winning the state meet. He went to Division II Virginia State as a frosh. "I owe just as much to Ralph Hawkins for getting me out there," says Barton. "He gave me a partial scholarship. To this day, I don't know why." He improved to 7-1.75 that year and decided to transfer to George Mason so that he could face Division I competition. "I was very sorry that I had to leave," says Barton.

Barton flourished at Mason, capturing seven IC4A titles, and capped his career with the NCAA Indoor crown in 1991. He also developed into a competent long/triple jumper, winning the IC4A indoor triple jump in 1990.

Without his late discovery of track, he maintains, he doesn't know what he would have done with his life. "I didn't know I had this talent," says Barton. "I didn't know I could jump like that." He didn't come out of an athletic family background; he jokes, "My dad is like 5-8, my mom is 5-3. I'm 6-3. I'm the tallest in my family, the skinniest, the darkest. I don't know where I came from."

While Barton has risen to the world's top 10 in the high jump, he has also continued to pursue the long jump. In 1993, he improved to 26-7.75 and placed 3rd in the GP Final. He has thought about going for the Olympics in the long jump, but says, "The chances are much better in the high jump. I think that if I trained for the long jump, I would have a good future." He says he will again play in the sand pit in 1997 or '98.

For now, Barton concentrates on the high jump as best he can without a high jump coach. He gets his weight workouts from a strength coach, Nguyen Pahm. As for jumping technique, he says, "Once in a while I work with Dwight Stones. He's the one who gave me the approach I have now."

Tendinitis in his knee hampered Barton in the latter half of the 1995 season, and he has continued to battle it this winter. "I'm concerned. I'm just trying to strengthen my knee," he says. After the Olympics, he plans to move to a better training situation in Florida or Texas. Until then, he continues to train alone while working on his masters degree at George Mason. "I'm studying emotional disturbances in special education," he says. "I tend to get along with kids. I relate to them pretty well."

Engaged to marry Camara Jones, the No. 7-ranked 400 runner in the country, Barton declines to hazard a guess on the wedding date: "You have to ask her that question. She knows more than me."

In 1992, Barton finished the worst of places at the Olympic Trials, 4th. "Actually, I didn't have a bad day," he explains. "Everyone else had a great day." Still, he looks for better in Atlanta. "I'm telling you, I'm so confident right now. The only thing I need is for this knee to heal. I finally have that high jump approach down that I made up with Dwight. I've been working on it, becoming more proficient on it, and I don't see myself having a bad year in the near future. I'm the perfect build, the perfect weight. Mentally, I'm ready to compete. I just hope I don't end up 4th again. Consistency is the key, but I want to have a good day."

Career Stats

Born October 17, 1969 in Washington, DC

6-3/1.90m	163/74kg

Milford Mill HS (Baltimore, Md) '87

Virginia State '88, George Mason '91


PRs (outdoor):

HJ--7-7.25/2.32 '92

LJ--26-7.75/8.12 '93

TJ--52-4.5/15.96 '90

PRs (indoor):

HJ--7-7.25/2.32 '95

LJ--25-11.5/7.91 '94

TJ--52-4.5/15.96 '91

Major Meets (HJ unless noted):

1988	1)USA Junior

1988	12)USA Junior TJ

1988	14q)World Junior

1989	=7)NCAA Indoor

1989	6)NCAA

1990	2)NCAA Indoor

1990	2)NCAA

1990	4)USA

1991	7)USA Indoor

1991	1)NCAA Indoor

1991	4)NCAA

1991	=9)USA

1992	5)USA Indoor

1992	4)Olympic Trials

1992	=4)GP Final

1992	5)World Cup

1993	3)USA Indoor

1993	=2)USA

1993	8)World Championships

1993	3)GP Final LJ

1994	2)USA Indoor

1994	=2)USA

1994	10)USA LJ

1994	=7)GP Final

1995	1)USA Indoor

1995	3)World Indoor

1995	4)Pan-Am Games

1995	2)USA

1995	7)World Championships

1996	=5)USA Indoor

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