( ENSPIRE Feature ) JuVaughn Harrison High And Long Jump Winner
ENSPIRE Contributor: Gabrielle Maya
September 16 and 17, 2023, at Hayward Field, was the annual event of the Prefontaine Classic. Prefontaine Classic served as the Wanda Diamond League for the first time on U.S. soil. Sponsored by Nike since 1978, the meet has been a fixture in the global track and field calendar, earning a reputation for bringing the world’s best athletes to Hayward Field at the University of Oregon. The Prefontaine Classic meet is named after American long-distance running legend Steve Prefontaine and serves as a “living memorial to Pre.” Now, for its 48th edition, a rising star, JuVaughn Harrison, finished in third place for this 2023 meeting.
Harrison, nicknamed “Mr. Jumps,” is an LSU alumnus who competes in the high and long jump at a world-class level. He was in the top 10 at the Tokyo Olympics in high jumps (7th place) and long jumps (5th place). He is an Olympian who will be competing in the Paris 2024 Olympics. JuVaughn earned silver in the high jump at Budapest’s World Athletic Competition.
ENSPIRE has had the opportunity to chat with JuVaughn Harrison about his interest in track and field, his mentor, what he’s looking forward to for the 2024 Olympics, his goals to win the gold, and more.
When did you start taking an interest in track and field?
I started taking an interest in track when I was a kid. Everyone in my family did it – my mom, my aunties, and everyone ran track. So, track is something I’ve been doing for a very long time.
Who is your mentor and guide during this process? Who helps you strive to be the best?
My mentoring guide is my mother. She’s my backbone whenever I have issues or need someone to set me straight. She is my go-to person, always there for me, and has my back.
What are you most excited about for the 2024 Olympics?
Really and truly, the biggest thing I’m excited about is to be at an Olympic games where the stadium can be packed. My first Olympics was during the COVID, so I couldn’t experience the true essence of the Olympics with the fans.
What are some goals you have to strike gold?
My biggest goals this year are winning two golds at the Olympics and the Diamond League trophy.
How is this year’s Prefontaine Classic different from last year’s?
Personally, I felt better and healthier at last year’s Diamond League final. This year, the final was the Prefontaine Classic. I felt tired and sore, and dealing with mild injuries, I couldn’t do my best. But overall, it was good, and I always enjoy competing at the Diamond League meets.
Harrison is a young man of high athletic caliber, being a rising star for the high and long jump for the 2024 Olympics also means he has a routine he does to perform at his best. A few of his interesting rituals before a competition include, always wearing his mom’s chain, eating a sandwich beforehand, warming up and getting ready with music, drinking a Red Bull, never wearing an arm sleeve, and lastly, praying before every competition.
For more information on what Prefontaine Classic is about, visit PreClassic.com. Follow JuVaughn Harrison on Instagram for updates on his journey. Want to know more about the 2024 Olympics? Visit https://olympics.com/en.