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Tuesday, September 02 2014 @ 12:14 AM EDT

Panamanian Long Jumper Irving Saladino Getting Ready To Defend Gold

Sports Section
Irving Saladino - Panamanian Long Jumper
Irving Saladino - Panamanian Long Jumper
There is no doubt that a few days before the start of the London Olympics, the physical condition of Irving Saladino, who won Olympic long jump in 2008, has is fans concerned. Tomorrow, just ten days before the start of the most important event in the sporting world, Saladino will face his opponents in what will be his last test, with a view towards defending his Olympic gold medal.

The Panamanian, after placing sixth at the Aviva London Grand Prix last week, will try to do better in this event, where the cream of the crop of long jumpers will participate. This time, the South African Godfrey Khotso Mokoena will be there, who demonstrated in London that he has much to do in world athletics. The Australian jumper Mitchell Watt will also be there, who gave a good showing in the recent London tournament and is one so-called favorites to challenge for gold in the Olympics. In addition, Britain's Greg Rutherford and the German Sebastian Bayer will be participating as well. The latter is one of the favorites to win a medal, according to the forecasts given by the news agency Associated Press (AP).

Saladino knows this test is important to help determine his competitive level before the start of the Olympic games. His injuries and not being ready to compete were part of the reasons for the Panamanians' poor showing last week at the "Cystal Palace Stadium" in London. At that time, Saladino only managed to make two valid jumps (7.87 and 7.70), while the other four attempts were faults. Surely, this Friday we will know if there is hope of another Olympic medal. (Panama America)

Editor's Comment: On 18 August 2008, during the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China - the Panamanian Irving Saladino won the long jump competition with a leap of 8.34 meters - giving Panama their first Olympic medal since the 1948 Summer Olympics, and their first gold ever. He returned to a hero's welcome, and he is still seen as Panama's best chance to win a medal in London. He will be carrying Panama's flag during the opening ceremonies. I've watched him jump. He's one of those guys who rises to the moment when it matters most. So he placed sixth last week and he might not do very well this weekend at the last warm-up competition. But he has the ability to "hit it and get it" when it matters most. And what he cares about most is the Olympics. If he wins back-to-back Gold Medals for Panama, he will have cemented his place in history as one of Panama's greatest athletes of all time. He's already done that by winning Panama's first ever gold medal, but a repeat would put him over the top.

It's Mental: Irving Saladino's Gold Medal winning jump was 8.34 meters. Second place was a jump of 8.24 meters, and third place was 8.20 meters. All of these guys are jumping distances of greater than 27 feet through the air - and the difference between a Gold Medal or no medal at all is minuscule. So, when it really matters, it's more brain than body. All of these guys are finely tuned athletes at the top of their games who train for no other reason.

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