David Wilson‘s career in the NFL is over, but he hopes an elite professional track and field career is just beginning.
Wilson, 23, is done with football after two seasons with the New York Giants due to neck injuries. He told David Briggs on “Pro Football Talk” on NBCSN on Friday that his new goal is to make the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team in the triple jump.
Wilson, from Virginia Tech, was sixth in the triple jump at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in 2011 (personal best 16.2 meters) and could run the 100 meters in 11.01 seconds.
And he thinks he can jump farther.
“Every time I’ve been triple jumping, I’ve been in football weight,” Wilson told Briggs. “I was never really practicing triple jump. That was just God-given talent, the athletic ability I was blessed with. I think if I really focused in and honed in, I could compete with the top-tier athletes.”
How much would Wilson have to improve to be among the world’s best?
The world’s best triple jumper this year leaped 17.76m, but that’s not what to shoot for as far as making it to Rio de Janeiro in two years.
A maximum of three U.S. men can make it to the 2016 Olympics in the triple jump. The U.S. is home to the reigning Olympic gold and silver medalists — Christian Taylor and Will Claye — who have jumped 17.75m and 17.37m this year.
For 2016, the key distance is the Olympic “A” standard that must be met to have a shot to be on the U.S. team, if the process doesn’t change drastically from 2012.
In 2012, the Olympic “A” standard distance was 17.2 meters. Only Taylor and Claye reached the mark among Americans, so the U.S. was unable to send the full roster of three men’s triple jumpers to London.
Only once in the last five years has an American other than Taylor and Claye bettered 17.2m, so hitting the “A” standard should be Wilson’s goal if he’s thinking Rio.
The “A” standard may or may not be 17.2 meters, though. In 2008, it was 17.1 meters. The IAAF announced the standards for the 2012 Olympics in April 2011.
The “A” standard also can be met at a meet other than the Olympic Trials. For London 2012, the window to hit the “A” standard was from May 1, 2011 through the Olympic Trials over a year later.