Brampton athlete Jared Kerr is poised to jump his way into Canadian and Olympic history. Dubbed Canada’s “brightest hope” in long jump, Jared began his career at St. Edmund Campion 4 years ago.
An $80 bet shared amongst his three friends sparked his love of the sport. After three years of relay races and under whelming results, Jared decided to try the long jump.
On his first ever jump, Jared cleared 7.11 meters, breaking the record for long jump at York University.
Later that year, Jared earned a scholarship to the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. His father and first coach, community advocate Steve Kerr was concerned and didn’t want injury to risk his son’s scholarship.
For a period of time, Kerr’s career flew above expectations, with constant personal bests and records at track and field meets. He exceeded expectations by becoming the first Canadian in 16 years to jump over 8 meters.
However, the string of indoor and outdoor school records came to a halt after his championship at nationals in 2015, where a torn meniscus and troubles with Maryland Eastern Shore left him benched from jumping, and excluded from the 2016 Olympic Games.
Jared found himself doubting his career and love for long jump, which left him in a difficult place. He questioned whether the string of bad luck was worth losing everything he had worked for.
“It isn’t easy,” he said, speaking about his injury and healing. “Most people think it is, but it was hard mentally, just as much as it was physically.”
Jared’s luck began to improve the following year, when Carl Lewis, a 9-time Olympic gold medalist invited Jared to undergo training and mentoring at the University of Houston. Since then, his career has taken flight again.
In May, at the American Athletic Conference, Jared jumped a distance of 8.14 meters, coming 6 centimetres away from the Canadian record of 8.20 metes. In July, Kerr was also awarded with a gold medal from the AAC Championships in Ottawa.
He dubbed this goal as his “2020 Vision”, and trains daily. He placed a disappointing 8th place at the North American Central American and Caribbean Championships (NACACC) in August at Varsity Stadium in Toronto. He was hoping to jump closer to the Canadian record. “He sees what he wants,” says his father. “He goes after it with fervency, and does not allow anything to deter him from his goal.”