North Alabama native heading to the Olympics; High school coach speaks on his greatness


HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – JuVaughn Harrison will compete at the Tokyo Olympics in not one, but two events. The former Columbia High School standout qualified for the long jump and high jump. He will become the first American man to represent the United States in both since Jim Thorpe in 1912.

“To be in a category of that magnitude it’s just great pride and he’s representing Huntsville well but he’s representing our country well,” said Columbia track and field head coach Ryan Shea. “I think he’ll do very well at the Olympics as long as he stays healthy. He has a shot to win both events.”

Shea coached Harrison throughout his high school career, and knew that he was destined for greatness early on.

“I knew actually his freshman year,” said Shea. “The question was he had so many sports he was playing which is actually a benefit, but his junior and senior year he took off.”

Shea went on to praise Harrison’s approach to the sport. “His focus, intensity, work ethic and as far as his training it really showed. As he went through LSU college you can tell the environment he was in the athletes he was competing against how he’s grown. He thrives off competition which is great.”

The Tokyo Olympics begin July 23rd and run through August 8th.

Harrison is one of three Olympians from North Alabama joining Madison’s Zach Harting (200-meter butterfly) and Hartselle’s Quanesha Burks (long jump) on Team U.S.A.

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