Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Lifshitz takes on extra duties

Issue date: 1/21/09

By Anthony Fenech
Staff Reporter

Central Michigan men's track jumper Oz Lifshitz is taking on double duties this indoor season.

With the team's need for another jumper to compete in the long jump event, the 24-year-old sophomore from Israel is preparing weekly for the event in the Mid-American Championships at season's end.

"I'm doing it for the team," Lifshitz said. "It might take a little bit away from my triple jump, but I have to do it."

In last year's outdoor MAC Championships, Lifshitz finished second in the triple jump and fourth in the long jump. Before then, he hadn't experimented with it save a few times messing around at practice.

"He's got a great work ethic, he's very strong and is such a gifted athlete that it should just come down to mastering the technique," said coach Jim Knapp.

With the team's situation, described by assistant coach Troy Irvine as "Literally having nobody in the long jump," Lifshitz is now balancing two jumps with similar dynamics but different techniques.

The long jump is more closely related to the pole vault in terms of mechanics and body alignment.

Lifshitz's more familiar triple jump mirrors that of the vertical high jump.

"One of the challenges is that in the triple jump, although it's a horizontal jump, it's a real powerful type of event," said Knapp. "The athlete has to be very strong. The long jump is all about speed. If you can't fly down the runway, you're not going to long jump very far."

Although different in aspects, the third of the three jumps in the triple jump is virtually the same as the long jump.

In the triple jump, the jumper comes off the board with either foot, change their feet in midair, hit that same foot again and then launch off the opposite foot before they land in the sand.

In simpler terms, "It's like a hop, step, and jump," Knapp said,, with the final jump being most similar to the actions of a long jump.

Lifshitz said he works on the long jump once a week, in preparation for the conference meet at the end of February.

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