Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Rick Noji makes his acceptance speech into the WIAA Hall of Fame...

Twenty six years ago, Franklin High School junior Rick Noji (left/photo illustration courtesy WIAA) made national headlines when he jumped 7-4 1/2 (2.25m) at the Seattle Metro League championship meet at Husky Stadium on the campus of the University of Washington.

Noji was one of four athletes inducted into the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association Hall of Fame Wednesday in Renton, joining tennis great Tom Gorman (Seattle Prep HS), Jeanne Eggart Helfer, a basketball/track & field/volleyball star at Walla Walla HS, and Joe Steele from Bishop Blanchet HS in Seattle, who was perhaps one of the greatest running backs produced in this state.

Noji was a six-time All-American, won a Pac-10 title and finished second in the NCAA indoor championship and third in the NCAA outdoor championships. Noji currently holds the University of Washington high jump record at 7-6 1/2. He was inducted into the Husky Hall of Fame in 1999.

Noji was also successful at the international level, competing in three World Championships (1991, 1993 and 1995) and four U.S. Olympic Trials (1984, 1988, 1992 and 1996).

At the time Noji set his personal best of 7’ 7” he stood 5’ 8”. This places him second all time in the world for height over head ratio for high jumpers behind only Franklin Jacobs.

Here's his acceptance speech. Note that Noji acknowledges legendary Washington prep coach Frank Ahern, who is seated on the right side of the screen.

For those who were too young to see Noji jump at his best, as a special treat, we found broadcast footage of Noji when he placed eighth at the IAAF World Track & Field Championships in Tokyo, Japan in 1991.

The 1991 IAAF World Championships were special for both Rick and myself, as he was able to compete in front of his relatives at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo, and it was the first world championships that I covered.

The video is in Spanish, but if you're a high jump fan, you'll appreciate it...enjoy!

1 comment:

Kim said...

Thank you Paul!!!!

July 2' 2010

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