TORONTO (Reuters) - National Football League speedster Marquise Goodwin turned heads at the Pan American Games by winning a silver medal in men’s long jump on Wednesday.
The 24-year-old American, who is scheduled to attend NFL training camp next week with the Buffalo Bills, had a season-best jump of 8.27 meters in the third of six rounds to earn his first medal in international competition.
“Not much training. My second meet of the year and coming out with a silver medal is pretty, pretty good to me,” Goodwin, who was drafted by the Bills in 2013, told reporters. “Obviously I wanted gold but silver came.”
While known for his American football career as a wide receiver, Goodwin finished 10th in the long jump at the 2012 London Olympics and only needed one attempt to qualify for the Pan Am final, jumping 8.05 meters in Tuesday’s preliminary round.
In his first jump of the final, he went a season-best 8.13m to sit in second place then fell to third after Uruguay’s Emiliano Lasa jumped 8.17 in the second round but he responded in style by setting a new season high.
“I’ve always dreamed of doing this. Of being able to be in the NFL and do track and field at the same time,” said Goodwin, who endured an injury-filled 2014 NFL season.
”So it’s kind of surreal having a stage like this and an opportunity to represent my team in the NFL as well as (USA Track & Field).
For the dual-sport athlete, competing in the Pan Am Games fit nicely into his schedule but working on qualifying for the 2016 Rio Olympics, which will be in the middle of NFL training camp, will be a much different matter.
“I love long jump. If I am granted the opportunity without having to serve any repercussions for it then I will pursue it,” said Goodwin.
“But obviously I am obligated to Buffalo Bills football so that’s the main focus.”
Editing by Greg Stutchbury