Long jump and hurdlesSri Chinmoy: I would be very interested to know if you did the long jump.
Mr. Jordan: I did the long jump, but I wasn't what you would call a sensation. I went 24' 11". That's not very good, but it was good enough for what I was attempting to do. I just wanted to see if I could jump. But I preferred running, so I spent most of my energy in the running area.
Sri Chinmoy: Did you also do some hurdles?
Mr. Jordan: Yes, I did some hurdles. In fact, early in my collegiate career I did some decathlon also. I enjoyed the ten events. I wasn't too active in it because I really was more specialized in the sprinting area. At that moment in my life I was greatly inspired to perform well in sprinting. My inspiration early on was Charlie Paddock, the world's fastest human. He was a hometown hero to me. He was from my hometown in Pasadena. When he came back from the Olympics, I was a tow-headed kid trying to run, and he came out one day and was watching me. Then he reached over and hit me on the back and said, "Keep trying, kid, and you will be a champion." I never forgot that. And I've been fortunate to have other great people, like Jesse Owens, come into my life. Then there are the athletes I have coached who have been as inspirational to me as the athletes I have run with and against. I've seen a great number of wonderful people and I've learned many lessons from all of them.