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Athlete of the Issue: David Oluyadi

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David Oluyadi practices sprints in the hallway during indoor season.

David Oluyadi practices sprints in the hallway during indoor season.

James Coyne

James Coyne

David Oluyadi practices sprints in the hallway during indoor season.

By James Coyne, Photo Editor

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When one door closes another door opens.

This phrase might be cliche or what an athlete tells themselves after they do not make the team they wanted. And in the case of David Oluyadi, Div. 776, this the phrase that caused his Track and Field career to exist.

Oluyadi started his high school athletic career by trying out for the basketball team sophomore year. To his dismay, he did not make the team.

“That kind of brought me down,” Oluyadi said. “But my gym teacher, Mr. C., he actually brought me out to [Coach] Roof and said ‘I think this kid has got potential.’ So I came out for outdoor track and the rest is history.”

To start his track career, Oluyadi ran the 200m and competed in High Jump and Long Jump. It was not until his junior year that Oluyadi started the Triple Jump.

Oluyadi’s Triple Jumping coach, DJ, has been his coach from the beginning.

“It was a day in practice, and I was working with the other guys who did triple jump,” Coach DJ said. “David wasn’t a part of that group — he was a long jumper last year, and we were working. In between one of our drills, he came up to me and said ‘Hey, coach, I can triple jump too.’ Then he just goes up and does the Triple Jump. That was the moment I told myself that we needed this guy in this event.”   

According to the International Association of Athletics Federations, competitors sprint along a runway before taking off from a wooden board. The take-off foot absorbs the first landing, the hop. The next phase, the step, is finished on the opposite foot and then followed by a jump into a sandpit. The distance travelled, from the edge of the board to the closest indentation in the sand to it, is then measured.

“Most people know it as three hops, but it is more of a sprint,” Oluyadi said.

After a promising junior season, Oluyadi has hopped his way to even more success as a senior. According to MileSplit Illinois, he is currently ranked at the top position in the state of Illinois in the Triple Jump after he jumped 45’10” at the Arkansas High School Invitational Jan. 14.

“He [Oluyadi] warms up with the team, he makes sure that everyone is on point during the warm up,” Coach DJ said. “After that, depending on the day, he will do speed and endurance.”

After a light jog and team stretching, the different sections of the team split off into their respective groups and train. Jumpers often take practice time to work on fundamentals.

“The fundamentals of jumping are basically trying to maintain form while you jump and trying to attack it [the jumps],” Oluyadi said.

Coaches stress fundamentals and form with all the triple jumpers.

“With the triple jump, it comes down to this: you have your three jumps, three phases; I try to really break it down into two,” DJ said. “You run through the first phase, then after that it is just two bounces into the sand. It is a pretty simple concept.”

Oluyadi made it to the state championships junior year, and came just short of making it past the preliminary round for the triple jump. That was the moment he knew he had the potential to win it all the next season.

Oluyadi went from finishing in second to last place at the State level competition his junior year to starting the indoor season with the longest jump of any other triple jumper in the state his senior year.

“I made it to state and ended up second to last place,” Oluyadi said. “I showed myself that I actually had potential. That’s when I knew that I was actually pretty good. And now I am number one in the state.”

Not only is Oluyadi ranked number one in the state, he now holds the Lane Indoor Track and Field record for the Triple Jump. The previous record was 41’6” and held by Deonte Griggs in 2009.

Oluyadi broke the record Dec. 17 at the Ted Haydon Holiday Classic with a length of 44’11” and then broke the record again Jan 14.    

After all of this success, Oluyadi said he is “still hungry for more.”  

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Athlete of the Issue: David Oluyadi