Elite Long Jump Adds DeLoach and Jimoh to Downtown Lineup

March 21, 2012

LAWRENCE, Kan. – Two of the world’s top long jumpers, Janay DeLoach and Funmi Jimoh, have signed on to compete at the Kansas Relays Elite Downtown Long Jump KU officials announced Wednesday. Both female athletes are ranked among the top-10 in the world and will headline a long list of elite jumpers in the competition to be held Thursday, April 19, 2012, in downtown Lawrence.

DeLoach, who exits the 2012 indoor season as the world’s No. 2-ranked jumper, will be among the American favorites in the upcoming London Olympic Games in July. She has won two-consecutive USA Indoor Championships in the event and was the silver medalist at the 2012 World Indoor Championships in Istanbul. She held the world’s best indoor long jump mark in 2011 with her personal best jump of 6.99 meters (22-11.25 ft.). A multi-sport athlete through high school and college, DeLoach still participates in the 100-meter hurdles on a somewhat-regular basis and boasts a personal-best time of 13.33.

Jimoh has been a mainstay in the top-five American lists over the past five years. The Stafford, Texas native has claimed five bronze medals at the indoor and outdoor national level and has seen her top marks rank among the top 10 internationally on four occasions, including the 2012 indoor season. Her third-place finish at the Olympic Trials in 2008 paved her way to her first Olympic team, where she went on to finish 12th in the event at the Beijing Games. This year she has posted the ninth-best long jump mark in the world at 6.81 meters (22-04.25 ft.) in her third-place finish at the USA Indoor Championships in February.

The primetime event is scheduled for 6 p.m., Thursday, April 19, and will be run in conjunction with the 85th Kansas Relays, which will take place April 18-21 at Memorial Stadium. The long jump will be one of two elite events held in downtown Lawrence that week. The shot put will be held on April 18th at the 100 East block of Eighth Street between Massachusetts and New Hampshire Streets while the long jump will take place on the 100 West block of Eighth Street between Massachusetts and Vermont Streets. Here’s a closer look at the world-class athletes who have committed thus far to the downtown long jump:

Janay DeLoach

Current World Ranking: No. 2
Hometown/College: Eielson AFB, Alaska/Colorado State `08
Notable Achievements:

  • 2012 USA Indoor Champion
  • 2011 USA Indoor Champion
  • 2011 USA Outdoor Championships silver medalist
  • Personal best 6.99 meters (22-11.25 ft.) was world’s top mark in 2011

About DeLoach: DeLoach admits that she had a bit of a culture shock when she went to college at Colorado State after her high school career at Elison AFB in Alaska. DeLoach’s high school team would only compete in a handful of meets each year, sometimes as few as two. DeLoach dabbled in many areas as her school’s top basketball scorer and even a cheerleader. During DeLoach’s freshman campaign at CSU, she admits that she was mainly competing for the scholarship money, but didn’t love the sport. It wasn’t until her sophomore year when she went to a meet at Cal Berkley and competed against Olympian Grace Upshaw that she not only realized she had a future in the sport, but also fell in love with the long jump. Fast forward to 2011, and DeLoach finally realized her dream to represent Team USA at the World Championships and finished sixth in the world. DeLoach met her future husband, Patrick Soukup, while both were competing for Colorado State’s track and field team. They plan to wed in September, 2012. DeLoach received her bachelor’s degree in psychology and human development and is pursuing her master’s degree in occupational therapy.

Funmi Jimoh

Current World Ranking: No. 9
Hometown/College: Stafford, Texas/Rice `07
Notable Achievements:

  • Three-time USA Outdoor bronze medalist – 2008, 2009, 2011
  • Finished 12th at 2008 Olympic Games
  • Three-time USA Indoor bronze medalist – 2008, 2011, 2012

About Jimoh: Jimoh made her first Olympic team one year after she finished a decorated career at Rice University. Jimoh regularly competed for Rice in the 100m hurdles, high jump, 4x100m relay and even competed in the heptathlon. During her senior season which she redshirted and her fifth year senior season in 2007, her talent in the long jump became obvious as she began competing on the national level. In only one year she went from finishing ninth at USA Outdoors in 2007 to finishing 12th at the Olympic Games in 2008. Jimoh lists WNBA star Lisa Leslie as one of her early inspirations as well as Florence Griffith-Joyner for her sense of style and beauty while competing. She has volunteered with Athletes for Hope including building a house with Habitat for Humanity. Jimoh was an English and philosophy major while at Rice. Jimoh’s full name is Oluwafunmilayo Kemi Jimoh, with her first name being Yoruba for “the lord brought me joy”.