Spain Park throws coach Curtis Thompson qualifies for second Olympics

Published 11:34 am Saturday, June 29, 2024

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By ANDREW SIMONSON | Sports Editor

EUGENE, Ore. – Next month in Paris, Curtis Thompson won’t just represent Team USA but the Spain Park Jaguars track and field program as well.

Thompson qualified for the 2024 Olympics after winning the javelin throw at U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials at the University of Oregon on Sunday, June 23.

This is Thompson’s second straight Olympic appearance after he qualified for the Tokyo Olympics in 2021 with a victory during the U.S. Olympic Trials.

“It feels great,” Thompson said. “I’m excited to get back out there on such a big stage and compete and represent so many people and so many things that have been supporting me over not only this year, but the past three years leading up to it.

Thompson claimed the javelin national championship this year with a throw of 84.03 meters in the first round, which was more than three feet further than the second-place competitor. This is the third national championship in the past four years for the Mississippi State alum and Florence, New Jersey native.

When he isn’t competing on the world’s biggest stages, Thompson helps the next generation succeed as the throws coach on Spain Park’s varsity track and field team.

He has a busy schedule between competing and coaching as he leads the throwers for both the indoor and outdoor track and field. He often has to find time to train around Spain Park’s practice schedule and occasionally has to miss time with the team to compete himself.

However, he credits the rest of the Jags coaching staff for their excellent work in keeping the throwers ready to compete in his stead.

“I’ll either train in the morning or I’ll train in afternoon after I coach, but when it comes to meets, I have the ability and the support to be able to go and compete at my meets while I know that my athletes are in good hands with Spain Park staff and I’ve prepared them as close as I can so that they’re ready for their actual track meets as well,” Thompson said.”

Thompson is passionate about both coaching the Jags and competing on the highest stage, and he is grateful that Spain Park shares both of those passions as well and supports him in everything he does.

“The staff and the school and the athletes definitely understand and have a great understanding of what I’ve been doing and they support me 100% as much as I try to support them any second that I am available to,” Thompson said.

Now, Thompson will represent Spain Park and the Hoover community in Paris while competing in the biggest competition in track and field.

He knows that it has taken a massive community of friends and family to support him on this journey, and he looks forward to thanking them for cheering him along by competing in the Olympics.

“It’s amazing,” Thompson said. “It’s one of those things that nothing can express how much I am appreciative of the support from everybody that I’m going to represent out there, and just being able to represent everybody at that level, it’s almost like a quick little thank you.

After not reaching the podium in 2021, Thompson hopes to break through and reach the top three to earn a medal to cap off three years of hard work.

“Everything else will kind of just be icing on the cake, but I am looking forward to getting a medal,” Thompson said.

Thompson will compete in the men’s javelin qualifying round on Tuesday, Aug. 6 at 3:20 a.m. Central Time in the Stade de France with hopes of advancing to the finals on Thursday, Aug. 8 at 1:20 p.m. Central Time. Both events will stream live on Peacock with highlights to air on NBC later in the day.