Age shouldn't define who you are or what you do; it's up to you to push yourself and test your limits. Olympic high jumper Jamie Nieto doesn't let a number stop him. "Your only limitations are what you are willing it to be," says Nieto. "At 35, I'm the oldest American high jumper to ever make the Olympic team and it's pretty cool. I'm truly blessed to have such a long and healthy career, and I'm ready for the London Games."
How Nieto Got His Start
Due to poor grades, Nieto was cut from the basketball team his junior year. A friend of his asked if he would be interested in joining the track and field team. "My friend said, 'You can work on getting your grades up for basketball and you can improve your jumping abilities so you'll be even better next year'," says Nieto. The idea sounded good to Nieto, and he's been jumping ever since.
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Road to Elite
"To be the best, you've got to compete against the best," Nieto says about his collegiate career. "I didn't have the money to go to a D-I school. So I figured if I went to a junior college, I would be able to work on jumping higher and get a scholarship. And that's what eventually happened." Nieto found a good mentor at Sacramento City College, Joe Raden, former elite high jumper from the '80s. He set Nieto on the right path, had him thinking more like an elite jumper.
Nieto adds, "Eventually I got a scholarship to Eastern Michigan University, broke the school records, both indoor and outdoor, became a three-time All-American high jumper and just got inducted into the hall of fame at Eastern Michigan."
In 2004, Nieto earned a spot on the Olympic high jump team. Although he didn't medal, he placed fourth. And now he's hungry for more. Nieto is ready to take on the London Games.
So how does Nieto do it? How does he stay on top of his game? What does Nieto do to prep for London?