In the world of sports, there is no higher pinnacle than the Olympics. For many athletes the dream of competing in the Olympics is no more than that, a dream. For some, it can be a reality.
Ryan Grinnell grew up in Idaho Falls, Idaho playing all kinds of sports, but at Skyline High School, his leaping ability emerged.
“The basketball coaches noticed how easily I could dunk a basketball and eventually convinced me to go out for high jump on the track in the spring 2004,”
Grinnell focused on the triple jump as he furthered his career at the collegiate level. Being an Idaho native, Boise State was on Grinnell’s radar, but he wasn’t on theirs.
“Coming out of high school I was heavily recruited, but not by BSU,” Grinnell said. “After deep consideration, I eventually decided to attend the University of Montana.”
Grinnell attended Montana for two years before transferring to Boise State and excelled in college, collecting 15 conference championships and was a six-time NCAA Track & Field All-American.
“Once I got a release from Montana, I was heavily recruited by Coach Kyprianou and Boise State. It was an easy decision to transfer to Boise State and the rest is history,” Grinnell said.
After Boise State, Grinnell followed Kyprianou, to become a volunteer coach at the University of Georgia.
“I really fell in love with coaching and found it rewarding to help student athletes be successful,” Grinnell said. “Not only do student athletes improve on the track, but you are a part of their journey of earning a college degree.”
While there, Grinnell took a position at Campbell University.
“I met the whole staff, and I fell in love with the place,” Grinnell said. “Everything felt like a perfect fit.”
Grinnell still wanted to compete after Georgia, and took his opportunity to compete for Team USA. He most recently held a spot on the team for the 2013 World Championships.
Grinnell needed a jump of 17.20 meters, to finish in the top three in the triple jump. His jump of 17.02 meters at the 2013 USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships was good enough for a third place finish, but not enough to secure a spot on the team.
A week later, at a USA Track & Field certified event Grinnell hit the mark with a jump of 17.22 meters. To Grinnell’s dismay, a technicality kept him off the team, as the USA Track & Field Association required a minimum of five competitors in the field, but only four were present.
“As you can imagine, it has been a roller coaster of events finding out that I would not be participating in the world championships this year,” Grinnell said.
So what does the future hold for Grinnell? “I am now shifting my focus toward 2014,” Grinnell said. “There is the World Indoor Championships in March 2014 and there is no doubt that I can make the U.S. team.”