Breaking News Bar
posted: 7/23/2012 9:54 PM

Jacobs grad Evan Jager says hair stays for Olympics

Jager pressured to cut hair, but times say it's OK

hello
Success - Article sent! close
  • Evan Jager sports the same hairstyle now as he did when he won the 3,200-meter run during the state track finals in 2007.

       Evan Jager sports the same hairstyle now as he did when he won the 3,200-meter run during the state track finals in 2007.
    Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Evan Jager celebrates after winning the men's 3,000-meter steeplechase at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials last month in Eugene, Ore. The victory earned him a spot in the Olympics.

      Evan Jager celebrates after winning the men's 3,000-meter steeplechase at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials last month in Eugene, Ore. The victory earned him a spot in the Olympics.
    Associated Press

  • Video: Jager beats American record

 
By Hailey Czarnecki
hczarnecki@dailyherald.com

The days are counting down fast to the Olympics, and the local big-hair runner says he's ready.

Evan Jager of Algonquin proved as much, setting an American record when he finished third in his first international steeplechase race Friday at the Herculis meet in Monaco. His time of 8:06.81 bested the previous mark by 2.01 seconds.

"I thought it (U.S. record) might have been a possibility, judging on how workouts have been going," Jager said in a video interview.

Jager, 23, a 2007 Jacobs High School graduate, has continued working with the Oregon Track Club since winning the steeplechase June 28 at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials June 28 in Eugene, Ore. His time in Monaco was 11 seconds faster than he ran in the Trials to qualify for the Olympics.

"I have to make sure I'm sticking to the same schedule that I'm used to," Jager said earlier this month, looking ahead to London. "The biggest hurdle will be to not psych myself out."

Physically, Jager's biggest hurdles are 36 inches high or 12 feet long. The steeplechase race challenges athletes to complete a 3,000-meter obstacle course with 35 barriers -- 28 hurdles and seven water jumps.

A hot topic of discussion had been his thick, long hair, which hangs just above shoulder length. When he runs, he keeps it out of his face with a sweatband.

Runners and their coaches put a lot of time into thinking of new ways to run faster -- tight spandex clothing, lightweight shoes and, normally, very short hair.

Not Jager.

He admitted shaving his head could possibly cut seconds off his already impressive times but, for him, his hair is a sense of comfort.

"I think I'm running fast enough to not cut it," he said.

The Olympics pose a completely new experience. "It's going to be a lot different than I'm used to," Jager said. He said he wants to keep everything as normal as possible, including his hair.

Others are not so sure.

"My coach, right now, is asking me to cut it more than anyone I have ever talked to," Jager said, adding he's heard people criticize him for his hair.

With the Olympics starting this week, it doesn't appear track fans will see any drastic change in Jager's hair, especially since superstition has convinced him to keep the hairstyle and he set the American steeplechase record three days ago.

Superstition and appearances go hand-in-hand in other sports, too. Hockey players bring out their best facial hair during playoff season; baseball hats are turned to rally caps during a comeback.

Jager has rocked the look since high school, and in a way it has become his identity. When he runs, fans can always spot him in the pack because his hair flows through the wind.

He is sure of one thing: "I'll keep it long for the rest of the year," he said, though he eventually plans to cut it.

As for the race, Jager said he is ready.

"I kind of like winning," he said. "This is the goal, ever since probably sophomore year of high school when I first started to get really good at running."

Round 1 of the steeplechase is Aug. 3 and the finals two days later, and Jager hopes he makes history for himself and his country. "I'm ready to run fast," he said.

Visit summergames.ap.org/dailyherald for more Daily Herald Olympic coverage.

Share

Interested in reusing this article?

Custom reprints are a powerful and strategic way to share your article with customers, employees and prospects.

The YGS Group provides digital and printed reprint services for Daily Herald. Complete the form to the right and a reprint consultant will contact you to discuss how you can reuse this article.

Need more information about reprints? Visit our Reprints Section for more details.

Contact information ( * required )

Name * Company Telephone * E-mail *

Message (optional)

Success - Reprint request sent Click to close
Comments ()
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.
    help here