Multi-sport Longhorn athlete ready for Olympics

Sara Beth Purdy

Very few people are extremely successful in one major sport, let alone two, but Marquise Goodwin is. Not only is Goodwin a top wide receiver for Texas, but in two weeks, he will represent his country as the United States’ top long jumper at the 2012 London Summer Olympics.

With a qualifying jump of 27 feet and 4 inches, Goodwin became the first college level athlete since 1960 to finish first at both the NCAA Championships and the Olympic trials in the same year.

He is of a rare breed, as very few football stars qualify for the Olympics. Goodwin will join Johnny “Lam” Jones on a short list of Longhorn gridiron stars on the Olympic stage. Goodwin has big shoes to fill as Jones won gold in the 4×100-meter relay for the United States in 1976 before coming to Texas as a wide receiver.

“I’m a really aggressive guy and really passionate,” Goodwin said of how football has helped him in his track career. “Those are traits you see on the football field that you don’t really get to see in track and field. I think that’s what I bring to the sand and to the runway.”

Being on an international stage with the support and expectations of the entire country does not seem to faze Goodwin, who uses the spotlight as a source of adrenaline in competitions.

“There is no nervousness going on here. You know, I’ve been doing this a long time, and this is a lifelong dream,” Goodwin said. “This isn’t my first meet overseas. It’s a new year, and I’ve been training really well. My fitness is great. I’m ready to put it all out there on the line.”

Goodwin will join 17 other Longhorn athletes and two longhorn coaches at the Olympic games. Representing the burnt orange and white in addition to his country has been a lifelong goal for Goodwin.

“It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity that most people don’t get,” Goodwin said. “For me to be able to represent not only myself, but my team, my university, my church, my family, my friends, and my coaches – I feel honored.”