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Olympics Preview: UT WR Marquise Goodwin In Long Jump

The first in a series looking at the Dallas-area athletes on Team USA before the start of the London Olympics.

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Despite having a "day job" as a UT WR for the last three seasons, Marquise Goodwin has maintained his position as one of the top long jumpers in the world.

He qualified for the 2012 Olympics by winning the event at the national trials in Eugene, Oregon with a personal best of 27 feet, 4 inches. Second place went to William Claye, a 21-year old from the University of Florida who posted a jump of 26 feet, 11 inches.

Goodwin's jump, which translates to 8.35 meters, would have been just enough to win gold in Beijing. Irving Saladino of Panama won the gold with a jump of 8.34 meters four years ago.

Saladino returns for 2012, where he will be one of the biggest impediments to Goodwin's run at a gold medal.

None are expected to challenge the Olympic record set by Bob Beamon all the way back in 1969 -- a mind-boggling leap of 29.5 feet. It stood as a world record for over 20 years, an eternity in track-and-field, until Mike Powell beat it by two inches in 1991, a record which hasn't been touched since.

The Wall Street Journal had an interesting piece earlier this year on why the long jump has been such a difficult event to master:

Experts who have watched the jump on video say Beamon was somehow able to sweep his trail leg across his body at twice his normal rate as he hit the board, creating an explosive whipping action that launched him into the exosphere. Beamon never again broke 27 feet.

By comparison, records in other events have crumbled like sand castles. The men's high-jump record has been broken 18 times since 1968. The 1,500-meter record has gotten torched 11 times.

Trials for the long jump will begin on Friday, August 3.

For more coverage of Goodwin and the rest of Team USA, stay tuned to the SB Nation Dallas StoryStream.

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.