Reindell Cole is keenly aware that there’s a fine line between confidence and arrogance, and the 23-year-old deftly straddles that line during a long conversation in which he reveals his many goals for 2012 and beyond, one seemingly more outrageous than the next.
The Las Vegas native and 2006 graduate of Desert Pines High School on his long-jumping prowess: “My goal is to jump over 9 meters [nearly 30 feet]. No one’s ever jumped over 9 meters. That’s my goal.”
On his plans for the Summer Olympics in London: “My ultimate goal right now: Go to the Olympics, four gold medals, four world records.”
On his current coach, Al Joyner, the 1984 Olympic champion in the triple jump whose family—which includes late wife Florence Griffith-Joyner and sister Jackie Joyner-Kersee—lays claim to a dozen Olympic medals: “I’m on a mission to beat him out.”
On the fastest man on earth: “I really only want to race one person, and that’s Usain Bolt. I’m going to give him a run for his money.”
Wait, there’s one more: “When it’s all said and done, I want to be known as one of the greatest all-around track-and-field athletes there ever was. And I actually don’t think that’s going to be hard to attain, either.”
Crazy stuff, right? So we tracked down Joyner at the U.S. Olympic Training Center just south of San Diego, where the 6-foot-3, 205-pound Cole has been working out since late September. You’re certain Joyner will offer a more modest opinion of his prodigy. Not happening.
“I am from a family of 12 Olympic medals,” he says. “My wife set an unbelievable world record. And I’ve always said I’d love to have a man who could do that. And right now, God has blessed me with Reindell Cole. He has the body type—it should be against the law. His calves are chiseled, from like a Greek god. … He has the makings of a great, great champion. And he hasn’t even scratched the surface yet.”
Cole’s specialty is the long jump—as a freshman at Cal State Northridge in 2008, he won the national indoor championship—but he’s also training for the 100- and 200-meter sprints. The 4×100-meter relay team is very much in play, and the 400 meters is also a possibility. There’s still work to be done, of course. Cole must hit certain qualifying marks prior to the U.S. Olympic Trials in Eugene, Ore., in late June, then once there, finish in the top three in at least one event to earn a trip to London.
But to hear Joyner tell it, this is all just a formality. He calls Cole his secret weapon and puts his odds of making the team at “99.9999 percent. The only way he doesn’t make it is if the world ends or we’re just not going to the Olympic Games.”
And once Cole gets there? “There’s no telling what this guy’s gonna do.”
Says the secret weapon: “I really feel like this is my time.”
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