As he continues to prepare for the Olympic Team Trials – Track & Field, 2011 NCAA Outdoor high jump champion Erik Kynard spoke with USA Track & Field for a short Q & A. Scheduled for June 21-July 1 at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore., the Olympic Trials remain a focus for the Kansas State University junior along with defending his NCAA Outdoor title. Third place at the 2011 USA Outdoor Championships and a member of Team USA for the World Outdoor Championships, Kynard faces the task of making his first Olympic team. A full bio for Kynard can be found here
: Manhattan, Kans.
Kansas State University
Hometown and High School:
Robert S. Rogers (Toledo, Ohio) H.S.
Follow on Twitter @Erik_Kynard
Give us an update on how you’re feeling and how your training is going.
“My training is going exceptionally well. People are surprised that I haven’t jumped really well, but that is a testament to the training. I have just done three meets including the conference meet. I have been doing everything in preparation for the NCAA Championships and the Olympic Trials.
How is your preparation different this season heading into the Olympic Trials?
“I wouldn’t say it is much different. It’s just a longer process. Last year I did the World Championships, which was a big feat and this year my coach slowed it down even more. I have only competed three meets and I want to get going. I’m looking to peak at the right time.”
How many additional meets would you normally have competed in at this point?
“I would say I would have had at least had two additional meets.”
Is there anything specific in your training heading into the Trials that you are choosing to be your focus?
“It’s my technique more than anything. My strength is always there. I am being more patient. I’m known to be a faster high jumper and I am sure not to overwork the approach.”
How efficient has that approach been?
“It’s pretty efficient. It’s different. It looks full speed to everyone else, but I know I can go a lot faster. I like it.”
Your situation is a bit different from a lot of jumpers as you are participating in a full college season. How will that influence your shot at making the team either good or bad?
“I think it’s approached differently than a lot of guys, but I also participated in full college season last year. And I am competing less this year than last year. I’m training like I am a professional that is still in college. But I won’t forget how to jump high. I know it will be there.”
Where is your focus at right now – on the Olympic Trials, the NCAA Outdoor Championships or any other meets?
“That’s the tough part. My focus right now is on NCAA Outdoors but I have to cross every bridge when I come to it. I want to be a two-time NCAA champion. I have time to focus on the Trials.”
What height do you anticipate it taking to get a spot in London?
“I have given that some thought. I think 2.31m will definitely get in. The “A” standard will make the team and it might even win the Trials. But I’m not looking to make the team. I’m not going to be looking at misses and makes. I’m going to look to win the Trials. There is never going to be a competition I will enter than I am not going to try to win. I am going to have to be on my game. But I have been around the block. Every team I have tried out for I have made except for two. I competed at the Olympic Trials when I was just a 17-year-old high schooler.”
How many different guys do you see having a chance of making the team?
“Obviously Jesse Williams is a very tough competitor. We come from the same coach. I am going to show up looking to compete with him. Rickey Robertson is another guy that got the “A” standard. I wouldn’t count many guys out at all. Tora Harris is another guy that hasn’t competed for a while that will be training for the Trials. My focus is on myself. Anything can happen and especially in the high jump.”
You had a big year in 2011 with making the World Championships team and being ranked #3 in the U.S. by Track & Field News. Has that helped your confidence this year heading into the Trials?
“I don’t look at stuff like that. I look at rankings and say, ‘I’m number three and I want to be one.’ I don’t ever step out there planning on coming out in second place.”
What would a spot on Team USA for the Olympic Games mean for you
“It would be great. It would be great for me and Jesse Williams to get a spot. Making the team is the goal. If I make the team then I will be looking to make the final. There will be no celebration after that. It’s not the finals.”