Auburn’s Goulbourne Makes Long Jump History
Elva Goulbourne of Auburn won every NCAA championship long jump she entered.
None of them were close.
Her first NCAA Outdoor title came in 2002 with a leap of 6.82m (22-4½), a mark that gave her the victory by more than one foot. A jump later, she followed with a 6.79m (22-3½) effort, which gave her two of the three longest legal jumps in meet history at the time.
When Goulbourne arrived at the 2003 NCAA Outdoor Championships, the two-time defending indoor champion had a lot on her plate. In addition to the long jump, she would be tasked with being part of the Tigers’ 4×100 relay team and competing in the final of the 100. There was no doubt that she’d be up to the task: Goulbourne carried the baton third on Auburn’s fourth-place relay team, finished eighth in the 100 and between those events, spanned 6.76m (22-2¼) in her specialty to win by 23 centimeters (9 inches).
All told, Goulbourne wrapped up her collegiate career with three of the four longest legal jumps in meet history and became the first – and remains the only – woman to repeat as champion.
“It feels great to win again coming in as the defending champion,” Goulbourne was quoted by Jonas Hedman in Track & Field News. “Everything has worked out the way it was supposed to for me.”
Indoors, Goulbourne had another pair of dominant long jump victories at the NCAA Championships: 38 cm (1 foot, 3 inches) in 2002; 36 cm (1 foot, 2¼ inches) in 2003. In addition to winning the long jump in 2003, Goulbourne won the triple jump – in her first year contesting that event – and finished runner-up in the 60 to total 28 points, matching the closest any athlete has come to winning three NCAA DI individual indoor events in the same year.
Goulbourne still holds a share of the collegiate indoor record in the long jump at 6.91m (22-8), a mark she recorded in 2002. She sat alone atop the chart for 10 years until Whitney Gipson of TCU equaled her all-time best to win the 2012 NCAA title.
The native of St. Ann, Jamaica, began collegiately at Central Arizona College, where she twice won the NJCAA outdoor long jump by more than one foot and owns the NJCAA all-time best at 6.86m (22-6¼). After Auburn, she went on to set the still-standing Jamaican record of 7.16m (23-6) and competed at four World Championships for her homeland.
The NCAA and collegiate track & field will mark a momentous milestone in the spring of 2021 -- the 100th anniversary of the NCAA Championships and with that, the NCAA Track & Field Championships. In June 1921, the University of Chicago hosted the first track & field championships in NCAA history.
This point can’t be emphasized enough: Not only was the event the first for NCAA track & field, but the first championships for any sport under the sponsorship of the NCAA.
To celebrate, over each of the next 365 days, the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) will celebrate moments, student-athletes, and coaches that have made a century’s worth of championships special. From humble beginnings to important historical milestones to the modern-day, collegiate track & field has evolved with the American society.
The 2021 edition of the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships begin with preliminary round action on May 27-29 in Jacksonville, Fla., and College Station, Texas. The championships final site and culmination of the celebration is slated for June 9-12, 2021 at the newly rebuilt Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore.
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