Hearne native Chris Carter could be an Olympian by the end of the week but that doesn't stop him from preparing a sand pit for a little practice.
Under the watchful eye of University of Houston track and field coaching legend Tom Tellez, Chris is taking the moments leading up to his Olympic tryout very seriously but with a grain of salt.
"I don't have anything to lose. I'm not one of the big dogs, so I'll just go out there and try to have fun and knock down some of the big guys," said Carter.
The funny part about the high flying guy from Hearne is that when growing up he didn't even know what running track was.
"I was like, a track meet? What is that? Like a meeting on the railroad tracks? I didn't know what track was. I hadn't seen it on TV or anything like that," joked Carter.
But once he took those first steps, Chris dominated and fell in love with the sport.
"The first time I did it, I got second in a varsity meet my freshman year so I thought, hey, I'm pretty good at this," said Carter.
By his senior year at Hearne High School he won the Class 2A state championship in the triple jump and set a record that still stands today.
"My senior year, I guess it all just came together," reflected Carter.
After a very successful career at the University of Houston, Chris now has something much bigger on the horizon, a shot at winning an Olympic medal.
"I might be one of the first Olympians from Hearne so everybody is rooting for me," said Chris.
"Chris is one of the nicest kids I've ever coached. He's really a good kid and works hard and he's a credit to his family and this sport because he is such a nice person," said Coach Tellez.
Coach Tellez coached Carl Lewis to the gold in the 1980's and he thinks Chris has what it takes.
"He has the jumping ability. It's just a matter of staying under control and executing what he wants to do," said Tellez.
The decision to come to the University of Houston was actually an easy one for Chris. Fellow Hearne native Patrick Edwards was on his way to the University of Houston at the same time to play football. In their senior season both were finalists for Cougar athlete of the year.
"Two guys, from a small town, at a college and being the best athletes on the campus, I guess Hearne came to Houston and took over," said Carter.
"Who ended up taking the athlete of the year," I asked.
"I did," he said with a big grin.
So now comes his biggest leap of faith since coming to Houston and we all hope he soars high.
The triple jump Olympic trials will get underway Thursday in Portland, Oregon and by Saturday, Team USA with have three jumpers heading to the Olympic games this summer in London.
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