Korbin Smith is still chasing a dream of competing in the Olympics.
The former Delta and Ohio State track standout is eyeing the 2016 Summer Olympics, and it’s more than just a leap of faith.
Smith, a four-time Big Ten champion and six-time All-American, has overcome injuries that derailed his chance at competing in the 2012 Summer Olympics as a long jumper, and believes he’s back on track to accomplish his longtime goal.
“I was definitely on the path I needed to be to make it,” said Smith, recalling his unsuccessful run at trying to make the 2012 United States Summer Olympic team.
Smith suffered a hip fracture a few months before heading to the Trials. He had already met one of the standards required to compete in the long jump competition, and was on course to peak right around the meet where the U.S. team is determined.
“I was pumped to go, and I fractured my hip,” he said. “It was hard to do, watching the Olympic Trials on TV, knowing I should be there.”
The disappointing moment could have lasted a lifetime for someone who seemed to have his way more often than not whenever he stepped on a track.
Smith had been a champion in high school, winning back-to-back Division II state long jump championships (2008, 2009). He was a two-time state placer in the 400, finishing second in 2009 with a time of 47.97.
His triumphs as a Delta Panther led to him continuing his track career at Ohio State. He won the Big Ten long jump championship in 2010, and was a member of three Ohio State 1600 relay teams that won Big 10 titles.
Eventually, Smith healed from the injury to his right hip. He found his way back to the track and began workouts. He ran. He jumped.
It was like old times. He adjusted his Olympic dream from representing the U.S. in 2012. It changed to 2016.
Time appeared to be on his side to improve on a career-best long jump mark of 25 feet, 4 inches. He has been on pace to leap beyond his personal record and establish a new mark somewhere in the 26-foot range, which is probably around where he’ll need to jump in the Trials to have a chance at making the U.S. track and field team.
However, Smith encountered another setback this past winter, suffering a stress fracture in his right foot.
The most recent injury sidelined him for several weeks, and the downtime allowed him more time to rethink his future in track and field.
Again, Smith found himself fighting injury more than track and field competition.
He has again bounced back and resumed training. He credits his latest recovery from injury partly because of his decision to train under guidelines for an endurance medicine training regimen, designed by doctors at the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center.
Endurance medicine emphasizes designing training routines specifically geared toward allowing an individual to continue training while healing from an injury.
Smith, who earned his undergraduate degree in health science and is working on a master’s degree in public health, is planning to compete in track meets in the fall.
The ultimate goal is to earn a spot on the 2016 U.S. Olympic team, and Smith isn’t waiting to begin preparing for the opportunity.
“I know I’d be a 26-foot jumper based on my marks in practice,” he said. “It’s a very realistic goal to make the Olympic team, and have a go at it.”