Tale of two jumpers: the bodacious Jim Barrineau and Kay Glynn

Jim Barrineau and Kay Glynn won their respective high jumps at Lisle nationals — Jim with an M55 American record 1.80 (5-10 3/4), topping the event’s oldest record (the legendary 1.79 or 5-10 by Herm Wyatt in 1987). Kay didn’t set a record, but her W55 gold-medal performance was equally stupendous. She cleared 1.34 (4-4 3/4) at age 59 despite signaling only five months earlier that her track career might be over. After five months and five doctors, she was told Jan. 23 at the Mayo Clinic that she had been born with hip dysplasia, leading to advanced arthritis and two cysts. But she made it to Lisle and excelled. Her story follows.

When I saw Kay’s name in the Lisle results — for the high jump, pole vault, triple jump and even hammer throw — I had to know how she achieved her comeback.

She graciously responded:

I haven’t had my hip replaced yet. I found a doctor in Omaha in late April who put me on Meloxicam (anti-inflammatory for arthritis) and by mid-May I went from not being able to go upstairs to not limping at all!

So even though he agreed with the Mayo Clinic that I needed the total hip replacement, I don’t need to have it done right now if I am comfortable by staying on Meloxicam with no side effects, and if my hip doesn’t deteriorate out of place. I have an October appointment to have X-rays repeated to see what it looks like.

Also, after all kinds of research, I am rethinking the Mayo’s advice that I “call it good after some great accomplishments and move on to something else.” That’s just not how masters track people work! Senior athletes should not sell themselves short — we have to speak up. I took pictures and videos to my doctors and said, “This is normal for me. I want to be normal after surgery.”

It’s senior athletes like us that will teach doctors what is possible after they’ve done their part in repairing our bodies. Maybe they’ll change what they “advise” people to do after surgery.

If I don’t have it replaced this fall, I will just continue to practice technique work in pole vaulting and do hip strengthening exercises. Seriously, all the other events stress it more. If I have it replaced this fall, vaulting will be the first event I will consider going back to. Even though “normal” people who’ve had a total hip replacement say that you don’t even need to rehab with hip surgery, all of us masters track people know better–we rehab after everything!

I was happy to get a PR in the hammer throw at nationals in Lisle (just to have something to do the first day), win vault the second day just 6 inches shy of my world record, and get a silver in triple jump the 3rd day. On the 4th day, it was especially fun to get a gold in high jump as I jumped off my poor right leg — I’m no Phil Raschker — haven’t been able to practice high jumping to learned to change legs! One event a day seemed to give it some recovery time.

I was SO happy to just be at the meet, do a few things, and get to see and visit with everyone! I didn’t mean to be a liar when I said that I was done. I thought I was. :)

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August 9, 2012

7 Responses

  1. peter taylor - August 10, 2012

    Kay Glynn has contributed greatly to the masters experience in the U.S., and it has been a pleasure to interact with her over the years.

    Jim Barrineau, well, what can I say? Not sure whether he still holds the collegiate record at Univ of Georgia, but he is jumping beautifully in M55, as the story and photo illustrate.

  2. Bill Daprano - August 10, 2012

    Spec would be proud. And we ol’Bulldogs are proud of you too. Congrats Jim.

  3. Milan Jamrich - August 10, 2012

    Beautiful! Congratulation Jim!

  4. Rob Jerome - August 10, 2012

    Bravo to Kay for “training” doctors about what older athletes..and older people in general…can and “should” do.

    Using the photographs I have taken at national and international Masters competitions, I have done Grand Rounds presentations at several New York City area teaching hospitals and medical schools to try to get doctors to open their eyes about aging.

    So many doctors have preconceived ideas about what older people can do, and unfortunately the advice they often offer older people is more about “giving up” certain activities rather than “getting into” certain activities. The greatest compliment that a doctor once gave me after my presentation is that my photographs of older athletes caused him to “shift his paradigm” of what old age is all about.

    Masters athletes are in the forefront of the “new” old age, and people like Kay are our flag-bearers.

  5. Martha Mendenhall - August 14, 2012

    I too admire greatly our iconic, Kay Glynn. She never fails to amaze us!
    Jim Barraneau is a true and humble champion! I was there at the jump off with Dwight Stones and Jim. Both attempting to be the first 40 year old to jump 7ft. I have to say…that was my first time witnessing the talent of that caliber of jumper and it was something I’ll never forget! I was in the presence of “Jumping Champions!”
    Just to add…Jim is one of the nicest, most humble and kind people I have met in my Masters Track and Field years.

  6. Peter Hlavin - August 18, 2012

    Tremendous effort, Jim! Keep soaring … always!

  7. Paul Skubic - December 29, 2012

    Kay, I had a full hip replacement a few years ago and your experience sounds similar to mine in many ways. I was able to come back and finish a full decathlon (with some struggle) last summer. No simple shortcuts but I was fortunate to receive a great deal of intelligent advice, both medical and training, that served me well. It is possible to continue a robust physical life and I wish you the best in getting there.

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