Keturah Orji: US Track Star Eyes Olympic Glory at Tokyo 2020

Keturah Orji: Aiming to Make More History at Tokyo 2020

As the United States prepares for the Olympic Team Trials starting on Friday, Keturah Orji, the eight-time NCAA champion, has her sights set on securing a spot for her second Games, where she could well make history once again.

Five years ago, Orji broke the 12-year-old US triple jump record with a leap of 14.53m, and she went on to improve that mark to 14.71m at the Rio 2016 Olympics, where she finished a close fourth, just three centimetres off a medal – the highest ever Olympic Games finish by a US athlete in the event.

Now, the Atlanta Track Club athlete has regained the national record, leaping 14.92m in April, after it had been taken to 14.84m by Tori Franklin in 2018. Orji, who also holds a degree in financial planning and a master’s degree in sport management & policy, is focused on securing her place at the Tokyo Games, where she could well make history once again.

“It’s kind of hard to grasp, I don’t think about it often,” says the 25-year-old on how it feels to be a history maker. “When people say ‘no one has jumped further than you in the history of America’, that sounds crazy. But it is an honour to be creating this path for any other person that wants to follow down the same route and be a triple jumper too.”

Orji’s impact goes beyond the track, as she writes blog posts on financial advice and launched a mentoring programme for eighth-grade girls during her time in college. “Representation is extremely important to me,” she says, emphasizing the importance of having role models that reflect the diversity of the population.

As she prepares for the US Olympic Team Trials, Orji has her sights set on the triple jump, where she is currently ranked fourth in the world this season. With a focus on longevity and the pursuit of the 15-metre barrier in the triple jump and the seven-metre mark in the long jump, Orji is determined to continue her journey and potentially add an Olympic medal to her impressive resume.

“Winning a medal in Tokyo would be so amazing,” she adds. “It would be an honor because there are so many people who work towards that and are never able to actually get there, so to be a part of that small club would be amazing.”

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