Feature on Diane Guthrie's National Heptathlon Record

In 1911, the Right Excellent Norman Manley set a Boys Championships 100 yard record that lasted for 41 years. The Jamaican and NCAA heptathlon record, set in 1995 by Diane Guthrie, is seemingly headed in that direction too. Guthrie's big score of 6,527 points was the culmination of a 7 year journey that started at STETHS. 

DianeGuthrie2Competing for George Mason University at her last NCAA Championship, she reported to the first event of the heptathlon - the 100 metre hurdles - after a narrow loss. "I actually lost the long jump on the first night by like a quarter of an inch and I was heartbroken, devastated", she recalled 25 years later from her home in Orlando.

"My coach encouraged me overnight to kinda pick up the pieces and move on so by morning when the heptathlon started, I was  (like), okay, the long jump is behind me, it's my last NCAA, let's just move forward", she posited.

She moved forward with a 13.86 second run in the first event of the heptathlon, the 100 metre hurdles. "After that, I was very motivated and of course, I went into the high jump which is one of my favourite events and I had a pretty good performance there too."

Guthrie continued, "I couldn't imagine that no one would have come in 25 years who would be better than me and so now in retrospect, I look back and say do wow, that is amazing."

Her record performance contained marks of 13.86 in the hurdles, 1.86 metres in the high jump, 13.80 metres for the shot, 24.91 seconds for 200 metres, 6.92 metres in the long jump, a javelin throw personal best of 49.04 metres and a clocking of 2 minutes 20.82 seconds in the 800 metres.

Remarkably, Diane only learnt about the heptathlon when she transferred from Hampton High School to STETHS in 1988 and the coaching expertise of Mike Olivierre. "I had never heard of it and Jackie Joyner-Kersee had won the Olympics that year I believe and she was on the front of a TRACK AND FIELD NEWS. He gave me a copy and he said, 'this could be you one day'", Guthrie recounted.

Shockingly for Diane, JJK introduced herself at the 1991 NCAA Indoors where the Jamaican won the long jump. "She was at the height of her game at that time and the fact that, I believe as a freshman in college, she recognized me, I was 18, 19 y-o, at my first indoor NCAA and she came on and said, 'hi Diane, nice to meet you', I was just blown away", she remembered, still stunned.

Ironically, JJK held the NCAA record at 6390 points ... until Diane broke it. 

She gets an annual reminder that she holds the record from her old college coach Norm Gordon. A few years ago, when Barbadian talent Akela Jones was excelling at Kansas State University, coach Gordon's 2016 reminder was tinged with worry. "I don't know, Diane, this might be the year", he said.

The gifted Jones fell short. 

Diane long jumped for Jamaica at two Olympic Games and is the only Jamaican to win that event at the Pan-Am Games. The 1991 gold medallist loved those days. "It's just a wonderful thing to look back and know I have represented Jamaica, the most awesome country for sure."

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