Jackie Joyner-Kersee, arguably the greatest female athlete of our time, will be coming to Lexington this summer.
“JJK” will join one of her Olympic teammates, Lexington’s Sharrieffa Barksdale, for a three-day track and field camp at Henry Clay High School.
The camp, focusing on “sprints, speed, throws, jumps and hurdles” will run in split sessions from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m., June 7-9. The opening session, 9 a.m.-noon, is for ages 7-11. The second session, 1-4 p.m., is for ages 12-18. Besides track and field athletes, the camp caters to baseball, basketball, football, soccer and tennis players hoping to refine their speed.
Cost for the three days is $300. Coaches may attend for $200.
JJK competed in four Olympics as a heptathlete and long-jumper.
In the heptathlon, she earned a silver medal in the 1984 Games at Los Angeles, then struck gold in 1988 at Seoul and in 1992 at Barcelona. In the long jump, she won gold in 1988, then took bronzes in 1992 and in the 1996 Atlanta Games.
Barksdale also competed in the 1984 Olympics, reaching the semifinals in the 400-meter hurdles. She is the former American record-holder in the event. Barksdale has remained active in the sport and served as assistant manager of the U.S. Olympic track and field team at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Campers will receive a T-shirt and autographed camp photo.
A breakdown of disciplines:
Sprints — Campers will hone sprint drills, 40-yard dash, block-start technique, form running, acceleration, speed maintenance and relay exchanges.
Throws — Will be covered in detail, including training technique, and focusing on shot put and discus.
Jumps — The high jump will be broken into simple easy-to-learn parts. The long jump will be covered start-to-landing by JJK. Campers will be able to see and correct faults in their technique.
Hurdles — Technique for both long and short hurdles will be taught by JJK and Barksdale. Included will be instruction in how to alternate lead legs in order to prevent loss of momentum.
One of my favorite stories about technique comes from JJK’s husband, revered coach Bobby Kersee. Twenty years-or-so ago he was explaining to a group of reporters that the idea in the hurdles is to keep “air time” over the barriers to a minimum because that is when momentum is lost. So skim over the hurdle as close as possible without making contact, then snap that lead leg down to get back on the track. One day at practice he made his point with this visual — and I’m paraphrasing — “Jackie, I’m going to set this dime on top of a hurdle. I want you to knock it off, but don’t touch the hurdle.” Now, that’s a difficult drill!
For more information, contact Barksdale at (859) 519-7131 or by e-mail at Blairs3833@yahoo.com.