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Irving Saladino: Jumping for Gold

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Irving Saladino: Jumping for Gold

Irving Saladino

Michael Steele/Getty Images
The 2007 World Outdoor long jump champ added an Olympic gold medal to his medals collection in Beijing, winning the event with a jump measuring 8.34 meters (27 feet, 4¼ inches). Although Saladino boasted the world's second-best jump in 2009 (8.63/28-3¾), he failed to reach the final at the World Championships.

Choosing sports:

As a teenager, Saladino had to choose between baseball, where he played centerfield, and track and field. After choosing track Saladino’s first coach, former Panamanian sprinter Florencio Aguilar, made Saladino a long jumper. But Saladino remains a baseball fan, rooting for fellow Panamanian Mariano Rivera of the New York Yankees.

Undefeated:

After losing just one outdoor meet in 2006, Saladino won all nine of his meets in 2007. In his biggest meet of the year, the World Outdoor Championships, he led most of the way until Italy’s Andrew Howe moved on top with a leap of 8.47/27-9½ in the fifth round. Saladino then won the meet by jumping 8.57/28-1¼ on his final attempt.

Career highlights:

In addition to his 2007 World Championship, Saladino won the Pan-American Games in 2007 and the World Athletics Final in 2006. He was second in the 2006 World Indoor Championships.

The stats:

  • Height: 6-0
  • Weight: 154
  • Birth date: January 23, 1983
  • Hometown: Colon, Panama
  • World Championships: Two
  • Personal best:8.73 meters (28 feet, 7¾ inches)

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