University of Florida junior long jumper and triple jumper Marquis Dendy jumped just over 27 feet, but he fell three inches short of a new car.
Setting a world record in the men’s long jump was not enough for Marquis Dendy. Although Dendy’s record-breaking mark crowned him champion of the 2013 SEC Indoors, it was not quite enough to win a bet he made with his dad.
Dendy reflects on the conversation he had with his dad, “So I said, ‘Ok look, how about this. If I make up those three inches in triple [jump] will you get me the car anyway?’”
Dendy’s parents began car shopping immediately.
Dendy says, “If I break [personal records] or break records then I get a little something from my parents. It’s just all fun.”
If that’s the case then Dendy is going to be walking away with a few gifts from his parents. As a freshman Dendy made it to the US Olympic Trials, but fouled out in the finals. Dendy, a computer software engineer major, says he is aiming for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
“I just really want to be an Olympic gold medalist. Representing my country with a gold medal- that’s my number one goal. In the long and triple jump.”
Although Dendy has his sights set on Rio, he realizes he needs to focus on what he can control now, because he knows his career in track and field will not last forever.
“I want to just take down a lot of records, long and triple jump, and just basically come out, more importantly, with a degree. If you have a piece of paper that says University of Florida computer software engineering degree it’s going to take me way farther, especially when I settle down outside of track and field,” says Dendy.
A Delaware native, Dendy was attracted to UF not just for its warm weather, but also for the talents of the track and field coaching staff, and for what they had done with previous stars. In such a short time, Dendy’s resume surpasses that of many other 21 year-olds, but he is just looking to improve in any way possible, and to him that means not fouling and staying healthy.
Dendy has had a multitude of injuries plague him throughout his career including a torn labrum he suffered at the 2013 World Championships, but he is hoping his strong mental discipline will push him through, and another small gift from his parents would not hurt either.
“I think I want my car repainted now so I think I have to talk to [my dad],” Dendy laughs.