Amy Lyn Acuff (born July 14, 1975, Port Arthur, Texas) is a track and field athlete from the United States. A high jump specialist, she competed in the 1996, 2000, 2004, and 2008 Summer Olympics as a member of USA Track and Field. Her best Olympic performance came at the 2004 Games, where her jump of 1.99 m earned her fourth place in the final.
She established herself domestically with wins at the USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in 1995 and 1997. At the age of 22, she became the Universiade champion, edging out Monica Iagăr in the 1997 high jump final. Acuff was the winner of the 1998 Hochsprung mit Musik meeting in Arnstadt, Germany, becoming the first non-European winner in the history of the event. She went on to win at the national championships in 2001, 2003, and 2005.
Her personal best is 2.01 m, which she achieved in Zürich on August 15, 2003.
While in high school in 1993 she was named the named the national Girl's "High School Athlete of the Year" by Track and Field News.
Boston, USA - Amy Acuff still has a few good jumps left in her in the women’s High Jump.
Acuff, who has announced her retirement at the end of the 2009 season at age 38, cleared 1.90m in the USA Track & Field Indoor Championships at the Reggie Lewis Center on Saturday (28 Feb) to win her fifth indoor national title and third in a row.
“I am just really so focused on jumping higher this year,” Acuff said. “This is my last year so I would like to make it special.”
Deidre Mullen and Sharon Day finished second and third, both at 1.85m, in the opening session of the two-day meeting that concludes Sunday (1 Mar). Mullen cleared 1.85m on her first attempt with Acuff and Day over on their second. Acuff cleared 1.90m on her first try for the win.
Productive indoor campaign
Saturday’s triumph along with a victory in the Millrose Games at Madison Square Garden was the second win of the season for Acuff on the four-meet USATF indoor circuit.
The four-time Olympian who now lives in Isleton, Calif., though, didn’t hesitate to dispel any conjecture about returning to competition in 2010. She has been plagued by chronic pain in her left takeoff foot and the side of her body from a lengthy career that has included five NCAA titles at UCLA and six U.S. outdoor championships.
“I think my body has had enough at this point. I am particularly looking forward to doing other things,” said Acuff, a licensed acupuncturist. “You are not a real high jumper unless you are about to break off your take off foot every single time. So after a number of years, it takes its toll.”
Acuff has taken a low-key approach to her final season, emphasizing technique over strength oriented workouts. She coaches herself with occasional consultation with former University of Arizona coach Bob Myers.
Acuff, who was fourth in the 2004 Olympics in Athens, decided to compete in 2009 after a disappointing showing in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing where she failed to reach the final. Her victory on Saturday boosted her confidence for the outdoor season and a potential berth on the U.S. team for the IAAF World Championships in Berlin in August.
“I still think that I have the goods to deliver a good jump,” Acuff said. “Some things have to line up and I have to have some luck too. It’s really nice to win the last one indoors. It’s special but I am really looking forward more to outdoors. If my body holds up anything is possible.”
In the men’s High Jump, Andra Manson emerged the victor at 2.32m over Jesse Williams (2.29m) and Dusty Jonas (2.26m) in a battle of the three 2008 U.S. Olympians.
Williams, the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials champion who had cleared a U.S. yearly leading 2.36m to move into a tie for fifth on the all-time U.S. list, led early with first-attempt clearances at 2.18m, 2.23m, 2.26m and a second attempt try at 2.29m.
Manson cleared 2.29m on his third try to stay in the competition and emerged the victor by clearing 2.32 on his second attempt as Williams had three narrow misses at that height.
Manson said he felt sluggish throughout the competition and was fortunate to prevail over Williams.
“Even on my bad day, I went 2.32m. That’s a great feeling,” Manson said. “Come outdoors that’s when it’s most important and I can finally challenge for a medal. That’s when it’s most important at the World Championships.”
Camarena takes fifth straight women’s Shot Put title
Jillian Camarena won her fifth consecutive title in the women’s Shot Put at 18.59m after overtaking runner-up Liz Wanless (18.18m) in the fourth round. Camarena’s win streak is the second longest in the 76-year history of the event in the U.S. Championships, one behind the six-year reign of Rena McDonald (1929-34).
Begley and Torrence win first national 3000m titles
Amy Begley and David Torrence won their first national titles in the 3000m with final lap heroics. Begley held off Sara Hall to win the women’s 3000m, 8:53.27 to 8:53.72. Torrence weathered a challenge from Brandon Bethke to win 7:53.67 to 7:54.20 in a duel between the former Southern California high school standouts.
In the women’s 3000m, Begley, a member of the U.S. team in the 10,000m in the 2008 Olympics, pushed the pace in the second half of the race after overtaking early leader Jen Rhines and then held off a strong charge from Hall on the homestretch.
“I just tried to go faster and faster each lap,” Begley said. “That’s what a 10K runner has to do when you’re running against milers.”
In the 1500m, Rob Myers came from behind to nip Alan Webb at the line, 3:45.73 to 3:45.82, to win for the second year in a row.
Tim Seaman won a record 11th title in the 5000m Race Walk in 19:59.06 to surpass 10-time winner Henry Laskau (1948-57) and increase his total to 38 indoor and outdoor national titles.
In the women’s Triple Jump, Shakeema Welsch edged Crystal Manning, 13.77m to 13.76m, to defend her title.
In the Pole Vault, Jeremy Scott, who stands 2.05m, is believed to be the tallest athlete to win a national title in the event. Scott, a first-time winner, dominated the competition to win at 5.60m without a miss before three tries at 5.70m.
Randall Flimmons was another first-time winner in the Long Jump, sailing 7.79m to defeat Matthew Turner (7.77m).
In qualifying heats, Jamaal Torrence ran 47.16 for the best time in the 400m and Dominique Darden was the top qualifier in the women’s 400m in 53.50. In the men’s and women’s 800m, Khadevis Robinson (1:49.95) and Katie Waits (2:05.35) had the fastest times.