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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Lapierre leads Aggies into Texas Relays

Like the mythological god Hermes he flies, but with winged shoes of bronze. Texas A&M senior Fabrice Lapierre recently won the bronze medal in the long jump at the 18th Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, Australia. Lapierre is originally from Sydney, Australia, so the chance to compete in front of his countrymen was a dream fulfilled.
“When I was running down the runway, everyone was clapping and cheering,” Lapierre said. “It was just so loud. It was like a football game here, maybe even bigger.”
Lapierre has come a long way in his event after being introduced to jumping at an early age.
“When I was seven I did ‘Little Athletics,’ which is for kids from seven to like 15,” he said. “It’s like track and field for youngsters, and you do every event, just to try it out, and then high school is when I started to take it more seriously and I did more jumping.”
Lapierre became captivated by jumping when he worked at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney.
“I really got into it at the Olympics,” Lapierre said. “I worked at the stadium at the finish line where I was giving out results and doing interviews, and after watching that – I think it was 110,000 people in the stadium, it was massive – I just wanted to be there and compete, so ever since then I’ve said, ‘I want to do that.'”
Lapierre may get the chance to compete in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, but first he must compete in the World Championships next year in Osaka, Japan. Assistant coach Jim VanHootegem feels that Lapierre is on the right track to meeting his goals.
“Last year he won the NCAA Championships with a jump of 26 feet, 9 inches, and that was a pop-out performance, so this year we’ve talked about being consistent at that level,” VanHootegem said. “This is his last run as a college athlete, and it’s also a nice transition for him to go into the professional ranks and the international level.”
This week Lapierre is focused on the Texas Relays, where he hopes to hit 27 feet and win his event. Lapierre’s teammate, Tor Cabungcal, has no doubt that Lapierre’s work ethic will take him all the way.
“Fabrice works really hard and he pushes everyone else to work hard,” Cabungcal said. “Everything the jump crew does gets turned into a competition, from video games to track meets, we go at each other every day, and Fabrice is real good at what he does.”

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