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Hollis Conway

After two lean years in the event, high jumper Hollis Conway says he's ready to leap to the top. "I'm working hard," he says. "I have the desire; God gave me that talent, so I'm going to bust my butt trying to get back."

In 1994, after six straight years in the world's top 10, Conway ran into injury troubles and failed to jump higher than 7-7.25. He won the national title with the lowest winning height since 1982, 7-5.75. He had a poor European season. He said goodbye to that world ranking.

Last year, Conway hoped he would make his comeback. At one of the season's first meets, in Germany, he blew out his knee. Doctors operated on it the next day. "That kind of put a damper on the season," he confesses. (It was his first season since leaving high school that he didn't clear 7-6.)

The only American to win two Olympic medals in the high jump, Conway is training hard in Lafayette, Louisiana. He looks back at the past with regret, and ahead to the future with a renewed hunger for his sport.

Being near the top for so long, Conway can only wonder at the times he was in World Record shape but failed to nail the mark. "The thing that frustrated me the most," he admits, "was the opportunities that I've had to jump high, I feel like I've had foolish excuses. Many times my technique was right, but I couldn't get my steps. Mostly I was hurt. I know a little more now, and I wish I knew that then.

"I know the things that I've been doing wrong, being out of position and not giving myself the opportunity to jump a World Record. I've been physically prepared, and I'm always mentally tough, but I just didn't put myself in a position to jump high. To jump a World Record in the high jump, you can have the ability but you need to be in the right position at take-off. Sometimes you're too close and you put on the brakes or you're too high and you come down on the bar, or you're too far and you jump into it. I think that on a lot of my big jumps, if that bar had been at the World Record, I would have had it. Unfortunately, [on the next height] I would run harder and try harder when all I had to do was the same jump."

The technique Conway used in the last few years troubles him now. He feels he got sloppy. "I look back at my technique, even when I wasn't hurt, and it was so terrible. I was getting so much stronger and I had so much room for improvement that I just kept moving [my starting point] back, running in there harder and harder and just getting totally out of position. I was 20 feet farther back than what I really needed. On a day when I was feeling fresh and great I'd jump 7-9. The next day I'd jump 7-2 because I just couldn't get there."

Conway insists that, ironically, his success turned out to be his worst enemy. "The thing that killed me," he says, "even though I was jumping bad I would be jumping high. It would convince me not to try to fix it. I'd say, 'Well, I jumped 7-8.' When I jumped 7-8 in Stuttgart I was jumping terribly, but I jumped 7-8, so there couldn't have been too much wrong with it, I thought. But there was a lot wrong."

Still training with longtime coach Tommy Badon, Conway trains in the mornings and does some assistant coaching at Southwestern Louisiana in the afternoons. In between, he keeps busy with his wife, Charlotte, and daughters Tarvia and Holly. Civic commitments take the rest of his time. "I'm in a small community," he explains. "I'm really involved with everything."

But living a comfortable life shaking hands as an Olympic silver medalist doesn't appeal to Conway. "Right now I'm not too concerned about anything I ever did," he says. "I have too many things I want to do and my main focus is straight ahead. If I want to win the gold in Atlanta, I can't be living back on what I did in '88."

This year, Conway says, "I'm going to go out there and jump the best I can. I'm going to use this indoor season to find out what my knee can handle. I can jump well, but I haven't been through a series of competitions.

"My goals are still high. I want to go out there and win everything and be dominant. In order to do that, I'm going to have to prove myself. I'm not going out there half-hearted or unhealthy. I'm going out there full-blast. If my knee's going to give out, it's going to have to give out, because I'm not going to be hesitant."

Career Stats

Born January 8, 1967 in Chicago, Il

6-0.25/1.83m	151/68kg

Fair Park HS (Shreveport, La) '85

Southwestern Louisiana '89


PRs (outdoor):

HJ--7-10/2.39 '89

LJ--25-0.75/7.64 '88

TJ--53-0.5/16.16 '87

PR (indoor):

HJ--7-10.5/2.40 '91 (AR)

LJ--24-8/7.51 '88

TJ--51-11/15.82 '88

Major Meets (HJ unless noted):

1985	7)USA Junior

1985	4)USA Junior TJ

1986	=6)NCAA

1986	=6)USA

1986	2)USA Junior

1986	2)Pan-Am Junior

1986	2)World Junior

1987	5)NCAA Indoor

1987	=17q)USA

1988	1)NCAA Indoor

1988	2)NCAA

1988	3)USA

1988	2)Olympic Trials

1988	2)Olympic Games

1989	1)NCAA Indoor

1989	1)NCAA

1989	2)USA

1990	1)USA Indoor 

1990	1)USA

1990	1)GP Final

1991	2)USA Indoor

1991	1)World Indoor

1991	1)USA

1991	3)Pan-Am Games

1991	3)World Championships

1992	1)USA Indoor

1992	1)Olympic Trials

1992	=3)Olympic Games

1992	=4)GP Final

1993	1)USA Indoor

1993	8)World Indoor

1993	1)USA

1993	6)World Championships

1994	1)USA Indoor

1994	1)USA

1994	=7)GP Final

1996	3)USA Indoor

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