World Records Camp brings track and field legends to Mattawa

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I don’t know how they pulled it off, but Joel Dugan and the hard-workin’ people of Mattawa and Desert Aire are bringing in not only the best, but the very best track and field athletes of a generation.

Check this out, they have current long jump world record holder Mike Powell coming in to talk and work with Columbia Basin athletes at this thing. Powell and Carl Lewis had some epic battles in the pits. King Carl won the gold medal at the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul and Powell was the silver medalist.

But on that magical day at the 1991 World Championships in Tokyo, Powell broke Bob Beamon’s almost 23-year-old long jump world record (29-feet-?2 1/2) when he marked at 29-4 1/4. Twenty-eight years later, it still stands and Powell is the fourth person since 1900 to hold the long jump world record for over 20 years.

The guy’s coming here — to Mat-of-Wa. Even if you’re not a student of track and field, the guy that holds the longest long jump mark in the world is worth listening to. These are true American heroes coming to the Basin.

But the World Records Camp doesn’t just feature the current record holder, former triple jump world record holder Willie Banks is also going to be there. Two of the greatest jumpers in not only American history, but Olympic history will be talking track.

Banks’ magical moment came on June 16, 1985 when he set a world record of 58-11 1/2 at the national championships in Indianapolis, Ind. Like Powell, Banks is an Olympic silver medalist and his world record stood from 1985 to 1995 before Jonathan Edwards went 60-5 1/2.

But it’s not just jumpers; the camp will also feature 1988 Olympic 400-meter hurdle gold medalist Andre Phillips. Phillips had some epic races with the legendary Edwin Moses, who won 122 consecutive 400-meter hurdle races (107 consecutive finals) between 1977 and 1987 on his way to two gold medals.

The World Records Camp is going to be a truly remarkable day and the beauty of the whole shebang is that it only costs $25 per athlete to spend the day with greatness. They will also have discus thrower Jared Schuurmans, high jumper Erin Marie Aldrich-Shean and distance specialist Jacquelin Hansen.

Registration is at 9 a.m. and the day is expected to wrap up at 4:30 p.m. For more information Joel Dugan can be reached at jdugan@wahluke.net or by calling (509) 932-1300.

Rodney Harwood is a sports writer at the Columbia Basin Herald and writes a weekly column for the Sun Tribune. He can be reached at rharwood@columbiabasinherald.com

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