RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — When I say decathlon the first things that come to most people’s minds are Dan and Dave, but not if Jack Flood has his way.
“My goal is to inspire others to make decathlon popular again in the USA,” said the decathlete Flood.
To do that Flood is up long before most have their first cup of coffee putting in the work as a member of Team USA Track and Field preparing for the US Olympic trials later this month. What started as a way to train for football turned into a new passion when he did fairly well in his first attempt his senior year at the five-event pentathlon in high school.
“I was overall state champ my first season. It came easy for me I started to high jump in my junior year and I was always running so the 1500 wasn’t that big of a deal,” said Flood. “I was developing the hurdles as I was getting bigger and the shotput, my first time doing it my outdoor year my last season and I was big so I just checked it and it was good it was golden.”
The early success made him complacent however and when he got to college it wasn’t so easy and he got a rude awakening during a meet at Cornell.
“I thought I was big but I saw ginormous people and it was an Ivy League and I did not know what I was getting myself into,” said Flood. “I did not do good my first meet I thought I was going to do a good hurdle time and I ended up running one of the worst hurdle times of my life.”
Lesson learned he started training, hard. He recently broke the 8,000 point milestone which less than 100 American Decathletes have accomplished throughout history. He is currently ranked No. 10 in the world and No. 5 in the United States putting in both the physical and mental reps. He makes extensive use of video equipment like most professional athletes to see where he can improve if only slightly.
“The film is hugely important I mean I have 10 events so there are 10 different techniques basically. When you’re at home you can watch your film, get mental reps or see a fault and you’re trying to correct it the next time you practice,” said Flood. “It’s so important to get those mental reps in and we have the technology. In the 1960s they didn’t have the technology so they would have done anything to have what we have today so I take full advantage of it.”
Featuring 10 events naturally some disciplines come easy to Flood like the high jump.
“It’s just one of those events I don’t even need to practice and I don’t practice it I just show up to the meet and jump very high,” said Flood. “It’s like dunking you can’t forget how to dunk it’s just jumping over a bar it’s that simple
While some others like the 400 and 1500 meter run are a grind.
“It’s the end of the day, you just competed 5 or 6 hours and now you have to run a lap as fast as you can or basically a mile and I’m a big guy at 6-foot-5, 215 pounds so it’s a pretty hard event to go around,” said Flood. “That’s very difficult for a lot of the athletes but I know those are the money events. If you can mentally push yourself it’s huge it sets you up for success.”
The next couple of years are critical. Flood hopes to compete in the upcoming Olympics, next year’s worlds as well as the 2024 Olympic games. Without the support of a major sponsor, Flood’s had to rely on help from family, friends and his hometown to keep his Olympic dreams alive.
“None of this is possible without the people supporting me. “My training group I mean I’m lucky enough to have 15 people that I train with that Athletic Lab pushing me every single day I mean I remember when there were three of us just three of us training,” said Flood. “When you have depth and people who have stronger events that push you I mean you go to a different level so I just want to thank my coach Michael Young and all the athletes at Athletic Lab because they are the reason where I’ve got to this point. Thank my family and everyone at Bayport- Blue Point because I’m nothing without you guys.
Next up for Flood are the Olympic trials which are set to take place June 20-21 at the University of Oregon. Like most Olympians, he could use the support. The link here is to the GoFundMe he uses to support his travel and training.