TORONTO – Just weeks after winning the NCAA Division I shot put championship, and then narrowly missing out on a World Championships berth at nationals, Jonathan Jones’ busy summer of elite competition continued Tuesday when the Portville native represented Team USA at the Pan Am Games.
With a throw of 19.88 meters – far off his personal best – he finished in fifth place. In June, Jones won the NCAA shot put title with a heave of 20.78 meters (about 68 feet 2 inches).
“I’m not happy about it,” said the 6-foot, 315-pound Jones. “It’s been a long season. My body just didn’t feel up to par today. I didn’t feel the pop like I usually have. I was hoping for something farther. I felt good earlier in the week, but that’s about it.”
Jamaica’s O’Dayne Richards took gold in the event with a throw of 21.69 meters. Canada’s Timothy Nedow won the silver medal (20.53) and Argentina’s German Lauro finished at 20.24 for the bronze. Darrell Hill was the top American, placing fourth at 20.10 meters.
Jones, 24, who just finished his University at Buffalo career, said part of the explanation came from the way the competition was set up, which had different timing and logistics than he is used to.
“We had to be here by 4 o’clock” for a 6 p.m. start “and we had a bunch of stuff we had to do. We couldn’t actually practice in the training area and we had to be warmed up and ready an hour before we usually would so I don’t know if I just wasn’t used to that, that my body just couldn’t handle that, I don’t know, but I definitely wasn’t ready for it.”
Still, he said he takes away experience and inspiration from being at the Pan Am Games that he hopes will help propel him to a spot on the Olympic team about a year from now.
“This is one of the big three – Olympics, Worlds and Pan Ams,” said Jones, who lettered in four sports at Portville High School. “The athletics village was awesome. It’s something to experience. I’ve never experienced anything like it. So to be part of it was really cool. To see that many athletes that are that elite, it’s something else. I’m ready to get back to training and do what I can for Olympics next year,” he said, adding that his next competition takes place in a couple of weeks in Costa Rica.
Elsewhere at the Games, Buffalo Bills wide receiver Marquise Goodwin qualified first in his group for Wednesday’s men’s long jump final at 8:05 meters. Fellow American Jeffery Henderson was first in the other group at 8.18 meters.