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Levern Spencer Eyes Olympic Medal in Beijing.

As the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing China approaches, sports enthusiasts are asking the question and viewing with much anticipation the possibility of St. Lucia bringing home some “silverware”
The most realistic chance lies with St. Lucia’s world ranked High Jump Queen, Levern Spencer who is currently fine tuning her Olympic Games preparation under the watchful eye of Wayne Norton, Head Coach of the University of Georgia.
Levern herself has stated her intention of making the finals of the high jump which in itself would be a first for St. Lucia and will again put our small island under the sporting spotlight. The results for the 2004 Athens Olympic Women’s High Jump finals make for interesting reading.
Yelena Slesarenko Russia 2.06
Hestrie Cloete South Africa 2.02
Viktoriya Styopina Ukraine 2.02
Amy Acuff USA 1.99
Irina Mikhalchenko Ukraine 1.96
Anna Chicherova Russia 1.96
Oana Pantelimon Romania 1.93
Monica Iagar Romania 1.93
Inga Babakova Ukraine 1.93
Marta Mendía Spain 1.93
Blanka Vla?ic Croatia 1.89
Tia Hellebaut Belgium 1.85

Levern currently has jumped 1.94 meters for 2008 and is hoping to achieve at least a 1.95 meters. This would have placed her easily in the 2004 Finals and with a good jump on the day she could have contended for 4th place. The major challenge is clearly that quantum ‘jump’ into the 2 meter domain.
The results for 2008 also make for interesting comparisons. Once again the event is dominated by East Europeans. The number one performer for 2008 to date is Blanka Vlasic of Croatia who has been jumping 2.03 to 2.06 meters followed by Ariane Fredrich of Germany with 2.03 meters and Chaunte Howard of USA with 1.98 meters.
After those leaders comes the ‘pack’ numbering nineteen Jumpers including Levern who range from 1.99 to 1.93 meters. Many of those jumps are of very recent vintage, May and June of 2008 as the athletes are making their qualifying times and preparing for their Olympic quest. Levern’s height is the 20th best for the year
Given the results for 2008 thus far, the finals in Beijing is expected to be a more challenging affair and finals aspirants will need to jump 1.93 and above. Levern’s medal hopes lie with her reaching the finals with already achieved results (1.94) and then for the finals, having the best of days against her competitors to realize the Olympic dream. Difficult? Yes, but achievable.
What Levern Spencer has achieved individually and for her country is truly remarkable and with her Regional and International performances she has taken us where no other athlete has.
Regardless of the Beijing results, she will always be our “Olympic Champion”