At least one of Jeremy Campbell’s records is sure to stand for some time. As for his other one, well, he plans on making that tougher for anyone else to catch for a long time.
The first record for sure won’t be broken in London.
Four years ago at the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games, Campbell dominated the field in the Paralympic pentathlon (P44 class) competition, scoring a world-record 4,662 points --- and beating Switzerland’s two-time Paralympic and three-time world pentathlon champion Urs Kolly in the process. But the sport is no longer part of the Paralympic program.
“When I heard, I was like, ‘Well, I guess I have that world record indefinitely,’” Campbell said.
That didn’t mean his world-record setting days were over.
He enters the London 2012 Paralympic Games as the world -record holder and favorite in the discus (F44 class), an event which he also won in Beijing. The discus was one of five events in the pentathlon. The Games are Aug. 29-Sept. 9.
Campbell has spent this summer extending his own records. At the Triton Invitational, held at the University of California San Diego campus, he became the first Paralympic athlete to surpass 60 meters in the discus in competition. He achieved that feat on his second throw of 60.19 meters.
Making that performance all the more impressive was the fact that he did it with a cracked prosthetic leg. Campbell, who was born without a fibula in his right leg and later had the leg amputated, said he felt the leg break on the first throw.
“So my world-record throw was on a broken leg,” he said.
Later, in June at the 2012 UCO Endeavor Games in Edmond, Okla., he took the sport even further with a throw of 63.46 meters. Campbell is a University of Central Oklahoma resident athlete.
He didn’t break his record at the U.S. Paralympic Trials -Track & Field in Indianapolis, but he still broke the 60-meter barrier, recording a throw of 62.52 meters.
“I gravitated toward the discus and have focused completely on it for two years,” Campbell said. “I’m excited that I still have a lot more room for improvement. I just fell in love with the sport and really became a student of it because I loved it. With the competition in the Paralympics rising I think it takes that.”
Campbell comes by his athleticism honestly. His brother, Caleb, is a linebacker for the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs, and his other brother, Jacob, was a professional bull rider. Their father was involved in the rodeo. Jeremy, meanwhile, grew up in Perryton, Texas, playing varsity football, baseball and basketball and even was the high school quarterback.
None of his family members could make it to Beijing four years ago, but Campbell is hopeful some of his relatives will make it to London.
Back in September, Campbell had a chance to go to the United Kingdom as part of the Britain Bound program (which gave seven U.S. athletes a sneak peak at the locale and culture of the Olympic and Paralympic Games). Campbell had a chance to scope out some of Scotland’s sights along with 2008 Olympic champion decathlete Bryan Clay. Campbell enjoyed his visits to various castles and The Highland Games and was quite a sport, even donning a kilt at one point during the trip. (Campbell Tartan, as he learned, is a pattern specific to the Clan Campbell.)
Now he is ready for his business trip: the Paralympic Games. And he’s hoping to come home with some souvenirs, a world record and a little more gold.