DES MOINES, Iowa – It mattered not to Brittney Reese that as the defending world champion she had a bye to the 2019 IAAF World Athletics Championships and that her performance at the U.S. championships had no bearing on her spot on the team.
In fact, Reese could have chosen not to compete at all.
A consummate competitor, Reese was still determined to reach new distances and emerge the champion at Drake Stadium.
“I may already be on the team but I still have some things I want to accomplish...” Reese posted to Instagram prior to her event, with the hashtags #UnleashDaBeast and #BeastMode.
In true Beast Mode, Reese won the women’s long jump at the 2019 Toyota USATF Outdoor Championships, part of the Team USA Champions Series, presented by Xfinity, with a distance of 7.00 meters on her second jump. Jasmine Todd placed second with 6.79 meters on her third and Sha’Keela Saunders was third with a 6.78 on her sixth and final jump. Tori Bowie, the reigning 100-meter world champion and Olympic silver medalist, placed fourth and will compete both the 100 and long jump at worlds.
“This is a good one, I wanted to just go out and try and get the world lead,” said Reese, who now holds the second-best mark of the year; Germany’s Malaika Mihambo jumped 7.07 in June. “I still ended up getting a 7-meter jump.”
This marks Reese’s eighth-career U.S. outdoor title and first in three years; her past wins came with five straight from 2008-2012, then in 2014 and 2016. She ties Jackie Joyner-Kersee, who won eight from 1987 to 1996, while only two women have more (Willye White, 10 from 1960 to 1972; Stella Walsh, 11 from 1930 to 1951).
At 32 years old and after more than a decade competing at the top level of the sport, how is it that Reese is able to maintain her success?
“I have a great support staff. I have a great coach, I have a great agent, I have a great family,” Reese shared. “It’s a big team for me and they keep me motivated, and I have a life coach that I talk to weekly. They all keep me on track and keep me where I need to be. I’m real blessed to be 10-plus years into this sport and still winning, so I can’t complain at all.”
Not only is Reese the best U.S. long jumper in recent history, she’s also the best the world has ever seen.
Reese is a four-time world outdoor champion, in 2009, 2011, 2013 and 2017, while no one else has earned the title more than twice since its first appearance at worlds in 1983. She also has three golds and a silver at indoor worlds.
She has her sights set squarely on a fifth world title this October in Doha, Qatar.
“I saw the medals and I’m just excited to go out there and compete,” she said. “I know it’s going to be hot and it’s late in the day so that shouldn’t be a problem. My goal is to go out there and win the title – hopefully jump further than I did today and win the title.”
Reese says she is behind in her training but knows what she needs to work on over the next eight weeks in the lead-up to Doha.
Working with a life coach will also help.
She first sought out a life coach in 2015. She was struggling following her 2013 surgery for a torn hip labrum.
“The reason why I’ve been working with her is because I was in a down place after my surgery, where I didn’t think I would be,” Reese shared. “Having her on my side and directing me where I need to be and putting my mind in the right place, I’ve been on top ever since.”
Reese also intends to go out on top. After such a lengthy and successful career, she hopes that her career will end with gold at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, which would be her fourth Games, or possibly at the 2021 world championships at Eugene’s Hayward Field, which would mark her eighth worlds and first to be held in the U.S.
“I have a son and he’s turning 12 this year. He’s in sports himself and he actually won the long jump in San Diego for his age group. I was coaching him a little bit,” Reese said. “But yeah, it’s time for me to be a mom and be there for him, so I’m going to try to go out with a bang.”