RALEIGH, N.C. – The Olympic games are scheduled to start in July, despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in the host country of Japan.
The delay of the 2020 games gave Jack Flood, a decathlete, another year to train to hopefully secure his position in this year’s international competition.
Flood, who hails from Long Island, took a unique road to qualify for the Olympic Trials in Eugene, Oregon. He moved to the Triangle to train at the Athletic Lab in Wake County after graduating college.
Flood attended a junior college in New York before transferring to the State University of New York at Cortland where he won the NCAA Decathlon National Championship in 2017.
“After I won the division three decathlon national championship, I knew I had to keep training, I wasn’t at the level of USA caliber yet, but I knew I had to continue doing this because I love track and field, and I’ve seen too many people stop early and not reach their highest potential, so I knew I had to keep going,” Flood said.
As a decathlete, Flood competes in 10 different events, requiring six days of training a week.
“Each day has a purpose. You can’t do every event every day, when it’s that time, I have to focus and I have to focus on that event only,” Flood explained.
His favorite event is hurdles.
“I love hurdles because it’s like a metaphor for life, there’s obstacles and you have to run through it,” Flood said.
The decision to move to Morrisville from Long Island was one made to better his future in the sport. Flood’s coach, Mike Young, is the owner of the Athletic Lab and has trained a dozen of athletes, who have competed at the Olympic trials and a handful of national champions.
“As an athlete, he has gotten much, much better, he’s really developed. He came in a little raw and each year through his hard work ethic. His incredible belief system. He’s really progressed over time,” Young said.
Flood said his dedication and passion for the sport has brought him far.
“It’s incredible how he has continued to progress in this linear fashion, it doesn’t happen a lot, when you get to the top level that you continue to progress, usually there are ups and downs but Jack has had this linear upward trajectory,” Young said.
In addition to training, which is equivalent to a full-time job, Flood coaches the high school track and field team at Cardinal Gibbons High School. He also substitutes teaches in Wake County to help offset the financial burden of the sport. Flood said he’s had fundraisers to help pay for the costs to get to the trials.
Flood said the work is worth all the effort, and he hopes to inspire others to chase their dreams regardless of their situation.
“As a junior college athlete, to get to this point, it’s a pretty big deal. It doesn’t matter what college you went to. I want to fulfill my potential and inspire others to be their best self,” Flood said.
Here is how you can help support Flood on his road to Tokyo.