EDINBURG, Texas (KVEO) – Being the best at one sport is an accomplishment in itself. 10 sports? Most would never fathom the challenge. But Jordan Gray takes it in stride.
I have the 100-meter dash,” said Gray. “The one hundred meter hurdles, the 400, the 1500, the high jump, the long jump, the pole vault, the shot put, the javelin, and the discus.”
That is indeed 10.
Jordan Gray is the best female decathlete in America. She scored 7,921 points at an event sanctioned by USA Track and Field in 2019, beating the 7,577 point record set by Tiffany Lott-Hogan in 2000.
“They call the decathlete Olympic champion the world’s greatest athlete because you have to be essentially the most well-rounded athlete of any sport,” said Andy Eggerth, Gray’s personal trainer and assistant track and field coach at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV).
The world’s greatest athlete, only if you’re a guy.
Women cannot compete in the decathlon at the Olympics. What they can do – the heptathlon. A seven-part track and field event, which is where Gray got her start.
“I kind of started watching the decathlon, and I was like, ‘wait – why do women even do the heptathlon, why is it even separate?'”
Gray started doing a little bit more research and decided she wanted to do the full decathlon!”
Gray wants to be able to compete in the Olympic games in the decathlon, not just for herself, but for all the women following in her footsteps.
“When I broke the American record, there were a lot of little girls and high school girls that were like, ‘wow I want to be able to do the decathlon but every time I talk to a college, none of the coaches are willing to coach me in it because there’s nowhere to go’,” said Gray. “I think a part of the problem is that, especially from the time that we are little girls, a lot of times we are told that, ‘you’re not allowed to play football, you’ve got to wait till powder puff, and you’re not allowed to play baseball past this age, you have to play softball’.”
Gray wants to see equality in the sport at the Olympic level.
She has started a petition to demand the International Olympic Committee add decathlon as a sport for women at the Paris Olympics in 2024.
“Now, that might not happen,” said Gray. “But that’s the goal. Even if it doesn’t happen, we’re still hoping 2028.”
“I think it’s time to realize that women are fully capable of doing the decathlon and let’s move forward,” said Eggerth.
You can find Gray’s petition here.