Malone closes best season with 4th in Lausanne Long Jump

Chantel Malone and Coach Dwight Phillips during the Tokyo Olympic Games. PHOTO: Tahesia Harrigan-Scott

By Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway

Unable to get the flight off the board she needed, Long Jumper Chantel Malone settled for fourth place in Thursday’s Lausanne Diamond League competition with a leap of 6.64m (21’9½”), to end the best season of her career.

Malone described the meet as ‘okay’ adding that it was good to have a crowd of people in the stadium—something she hadn’t seen since the start of the pandemic.

“I wanted better but I was just having trouble with my rhythm off the approach so it’s causing me to do some things at the board that’s not allowing me to get the flight that I need,” she explained. “Overall it was okay.”

Malone-who was in third but slipped to fourth by 2cm in the 5th round after Great Britain’s Jazmin Sawyers’ 6.66m mark—said she hates the rule that doesn’t allow a 6th jump if you’re not in the top three. “I understating that they’re trying to bring excitement, but with the jumps, you can’t do that,” she noted. “You could have a World Record on your first jump but it won’t count towards you winning the meet? That makes absolutely no sense. I don’t think that’s the way you bring excitement to the sport.”

Reflecting on her season in which she was one of only eight women over 7.00m (22’11½”) after cutting the sand at a personal best 7.08m (23/2¾”), the 4th best mark of 2021, Malone said she was in the best shape of her life. She began with the 2nd best jump of the season and knew “something crazy was going to happen” before injuries slowed her, causing setbacks.

“I still fought my way through all the obstacles and came out better than others would have so I have to be grateful for that and just being able to finish the season in one piece,” she told Island Sun Sports. “Two week prior to the (Olympic) Games, I didn’t think I would really be able to compete at the Games. Just being able to come back, execute and do what I was able to do—although it wasn’t the performance I wanted in the final—I still showed up and I think that’s the bigger lesson that I took away from obstacles. Learning how to stand through it all  and even when you experience the feeling of being up, then something hits you that you can’t stay on the path you’re on, was frustrating. Learning how to bounceback, was the take away for me from this season.”

With her 6.82m (22’4½”) leap in Tokyo qualifying for the July 15-24 Worlds in Oregon, Malone will approach the season differently, something she and Coach Dwight Phillips will discuss. Worlds will be followed by Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, July 28-Aug 8 (Long Jump Aug 5-6).  While she’s expecting to return to the track as well, she said they’ll have to plot out how they’ll hit back to back championships at high intensity and a high level of performance.

“I know we’re going to get it done. We just have to go back and see how different things will be tweaked to prevent certain things, getting stronger in the areas that you’re weak,” she explained. “In my head, the next three years is all about dominating the field. The physical training is done for right now, it’s about rest and recovery, see what needs to be done to make sure I could come back and train at 100%. I need the rest mentally, because I’m definitely swamped.”

She said the mental training will also start, getting over a dream lost, but acknowledged she has accomplished many things.

“I’m proud of my accomplishments but ultimately, the dream was to be on that podium and I think it’s important for all athletes to acknowledge, if you missed that goal you had, you have to grieve the loss of that goal,” she pointed out. “Not just push it under the rug because it shows up at a bad time, so for me, it’s about healing mentally, accepting what is and reflecting on how I can be a better athlete and person and just be the best version of me for the next three years.”