Kevin Mangan sent me this piece on one of the athletes he admires, Jesse Williams, the 2011 WC in the high jump. Kevin thinks Jesse Williams will be one of the athletes to watch in Des Moines. Jesse has had some injury issues in 2013, but this guy knows how to compete.
Athletes to Keep an Eye On: Jesse Williams
by Kevin Mangan
Every event in Des Moines will be an absolute joy to watch. Every team will be incredibly difficult to make. But there are some particular athletes that deserve particular attention.
Jesse Williams is looking to get back to the top of the high jump world, but it’s higher than when he left it. Even though he has the wild card as the defending champion, Jesse Williams will be looking to have a great meet in Des Moines. He has been struggling recently and his high jump throne was taken as soon as he got on it. An ankle injury has held him back a bit this year. Not only has he been unable to be much of a factor on the world stage, but after 2011 he has played third fiddle to Erik Kynard and Jamie Nieto in the American High Jump ranks. At his last meet, the Pre Classic, he made a third attempt clearance at the opening height of 2.16 (7-1) and then missed three times at the next bar. He was clearly not himself and was overshadowed by the trio of young guns Barshim, Kynard and Drouin who all medaled at the Olympics last year. In fact at every meet he has competed in this year he has jumped slightly to significantly lower than he did in 2011 or 2012. During the 2011 outdoor season he failed to jump 2.30 or higher only once before the World Championships in Daegu. He also set his PB of 2.37 to win the National Championship that summer. This year he has only jumped over 2.30 once, with his 2.31 at Mt Sac. Williams will be looking overcome his ankle troubles to get back to being a consistent 2.30+ jumper. In 2011, that’s what it took to be the best in the world, but this year it will probably be higher. Fortunately he earned the wild card, so he’ll have another two months to get his ankle fixed and his championship form back.