Local Track Star, James Harris, Trains for Postponed Olympic Trials


Postponing the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games evens out the playing field for athletes like former Lanett track star James Harris.

“The weight room is so necessary when it comes to feeding your muscles,” said Harris. “You know if you come out here and run sprints without going to the weight room, you’re prone to get those hamstring injuries. Those groin injuries.”

Like many Olympic hopefuls, Harris is currently without a weight room due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but he does have a track in LaGrange, GA. Prior to the 1996 Atlanta Summer Games, the Chris Joseph Olympic Track was a training ground for hundreds of athletes from 42 countries.

“My fastest competition ever was fastest kid in Troup County my third grade year, and I didn’t win so I was heartbroken. This track is where I got that competitive drive, you know wanting to be great at running.”

The 6-foot-5, 200 pound athlete is training for the 400 meter run and high jump, which makes Harris the first American ever to attempt both in the same summer trials.

“The 400 helps me a better high jumper because later bars, people, their bodies start to get tired. I’m a quarter-miler, so I’m not as tired as those jumpers usually get.”

Four years ago, Harris competed at the Team USA trails in the 400 meter run.

“I finished number nine. I missed a spot in the finals by two-thousandth of a second. When the race came around, I hadn’t done a track workout in a month due to injuries. That moment showed me like hey you know, you still got something you need to prove.”

Harris wants to make the communities of Lanett and LaGrange proud, but especially his daughter.

“She thinks that her daddy is the fastest man in the world. He can jump higher than anybody. Being a dream of mine was to run in the Olympics, but I think it’s more personal than anything. I just got to make it happen.”

When track meets start back up, Harris said his opening height for high jump is going to be seven feet tall, which is seven inches away from his goal.

Categories: Alabama Sports, Georgia Sports, Olympics