Sacramento story: How Jim Crittenden helped Greg Foster medal

Greg Foster

Greg Foster, the masters jumper (not the Olympic hurdler), is a world champion. He also has a world-class story to tell from Sacramento worlds. He wrote me recently, and I’ll let him share it in his own words. It’s a beaut. “Personally, I had a wonderful experience at the meet,” Greg says. “What made it so special, besides the officials and volunteers, were the competitors. My story: About a week before the meet, I rolled by right ankle running hills. I went to the meet with a little niggle, nothing serious. However, during the M45 triple jump competition, which was very competitive, I seriously injured my right ankle on my second attempt. It was extremely painful to put my weight on that foot.”

Jim Crittenden is shown edging the late Willie Venable in a 2006 meet.

Greg’s story continues:

I took my spikes off and considered withdrawing from the competition. However, someone interrupted my thoughts. It was Jim Crittenden. Jim was competing in the M60 long jump prelims on a parallel runway.

He said he had an ankle brace that I could use, if I wanted. He said that I could return it if I saw him around, and if not, don’t worry about it.

Long story short: I accepted the brace, took an ibuprofen, gritted out the competition — and was fortunate to win the bronze on my last attempt.

During the awards ceremony, I was touched as I looked into my 6-year-old son’s eyes and saw the joy, pride and excitement that was overflowing — therefore making this perhaps my most enjoyable and memorable WMA experience ever, because of a kind gesture from Jim.

Just FYI. Here are some previous world-meet accomplishments by Greg Foster:

2003 Puerto Rico – M40 Triple Jump 1st (14.93) / Long Jump 2nd (6.98)

2004 Sindelfingen – M40 Pentathlon 1st (World/American Record) / Long Jump

2006 Linz – M40 Triple Jump 1st (14.12) / Long Jump 4th (6.54)

2008 France M45 Triple Jump 3rd

2010 Kamloops M45 Triple Jump 2nd / Long Jump 2nd / 4 x 200 Relay 1st

2011 Sacramento M45 Triple Jump 3rd

Now the really amazing part: Greg’s story isn’t a rarity. This kind of thing happens all the time at worlds. I see speedy rivals becoming fast friends. (I have a shot of American Eric Prince walking alongside Scotsman Darren Scott to their 4×100 relay zones.)

So here’s my biennial appeal: Record your Sacramento memories now. Your brain has already lost a couple billion cells since the relays last Sunday. You can post your stories here, or on the Forum page devoted to Sacramento.

The key is preserving your stories. In 10 years, you’ll appreciate it.

Print Friendly

July 22, 2011

4 Responses

  1. al cestero - July 23, 2011

    greg is a teamate of mine on the shore ac club. he is a class act…all the way. the friendships that are made in this sport last a lifetime…i went through a similar experience back in 04 nationals indoors at boston.i had a badly sprained left ankle and my competitors were a great help, and i managed a bronze in my first pentathlon. way back when i was in hs, ken effler who was at william paterson college ripped his shoes in the long jump at the state aau meet in clifton . i was leading the lj,then i lent him a spare pair of shoes and he beat me. i would do it today…

  2. Burr Daly - July 23, 2011

    Greg is indeed a class act. My recollection is two years ago Greg escorted his mother, age 91 to the New Jersey Indoor Championship where she won the 60 meter event. I was able to congratulate her later when Greg escorted her to the USATF Indoor Championship in
    DC where she again won the 60 meters.

  3. Ken Stone - July 23, 2011

    Greg and his mom were featured in this entry:

    Thanks for the reminder!

  4. Bryan Pierce - July 23, 2011

    Greg held the LJ and TJ records when I began my first season at Stockton State College. I had the pleasure of finally meeting him in 2002 when I was humbled for the second week in a row by a masters athlete (the week before that it was Darnell Gatling in a 200). Echoing the comments of Al and Burr, Greg truly is a class act.

Leave a Reply