Thursday, June 26, 2008

Who Is Chris Jones?

This article was co-written by former track standout Marlon Ramsey and Jay Hicks.

With the Olympic Trials just around the corner, Chris Jones had been dropping his times and moving ever closer to his goal of creating a legacy for his children, ages 6 and 7-weeks-old, by making the U.S. Olympic Team. It is his latest efforts to make the Olympics after three years out of the game that could very well bring the eyes of the track and field world to his cause. So, we set out to learn exactly who is Chris Jones.

This track and field disciple, if you will, comes out of the legendary Texas high school 400-meter track scene. He was part of a group of trailblazers that were your favorite runners, favorite runners. He ran during the impressive high school quarter-miler era that produced former greats such as Deon Minor (45.75), Milton Mallard (45.80), Danny McCray (45.74), and of course, Marlon Ramsey (45.36). A group that Texas high school stand outs Brandon Couts (Greenville), Kellie Willie (Houston), Jeremy Wariner (Arlington), and Kerron Clement (LaPorte) grew up watching.

He is a 400-meter talent. During his collegiate running, he was a four time 400-meter conference champion while attending Rice University and University of Houston respectively. Jones is the former 1997 World Outdoor Champion at 400 meters and still holds the school records at Rice University (1994) and University of Houston (1997) in the event.

Today the Houston resident is driven by his passion and love for the sport that has given him so much. Many of his counter parts have long ago retired or left the sport all together, but Chris is running toward his dream of representing the U.S. in Beijing.

Jones started the season at the Komen Houston Run For Breast Cancer, a distance he had never run before in his life and ran 24th in the road race featuring 2,000 runners. Jones then became inspired and called Coach Tom Tellez to lay down a base and begin fall workouts for the 400 meters again. "I love to run. No matter what the distance is, I will be competitive," says Chris Jones. Things started to take off when Jones won the UTSA Invitational in 47.40. He said, "It was an unbelievable feeling, surreal."

In his prime, Jones claims a personal best of 44.87. Today he has a family, a full-time job, and has still managed to run a season best of 46.23 so far this year. This time is very close to the Olympic Trials qualifying time (45.95).

"I feel rejuvenated, like a new man said Jones. I was real skeptical at first, and then the pieces started coming together."

This is the picture of a man chasing down his dreams. Chris Jones returns to the sport to finish his story of achieving an extraordinary goal by making history and the U.S. Olympic Team. His grandfather told him "never be an ordinary man, always stand out in life." And Chris is being anything, but ordinary.

By Jay Hicks and Marlon Ramsey. Marlon Ramsey is a guest contributor. He is a former SWC Champion and NCAA runner-up at 400-meters while wearing the green and gold of Baylor University. Ramsey is also a former World Champion as a part of the 1995 Team USA 4x400-meter relay.

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