Suffolk’s Jazmine Tilmon, center, runs her leg of the 4x100-meter relay on the AAU Virginia Elite Team at the AAU Junior Olympic Games in Michigan last week. (Photo submitted by Tanya Tilmon)
Suffolk’s Jazmine Tilmon, center, runs her leg of the 4x100-meter relay on the AAU Virginia Elite Team at the AAU Junior Olympic Games in Michigan last week. (Photo submitted by Tanya Tilmon)

Tilmon reaches new heights at games

Published 9:41pm Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Twelve-year-old Jazmine Tilmon of Suffolk had her best showing yet at the national level of track and field last week when she placed in the top eight of all her events at the Amateur Athletic Union Junior Olympic Games in Michigan.

Jazmine and the AAU Virginia Elite Team placed third in the 4×100-meter relay with a time of 50.75 seconds. She placed seventh in the long jump with a leap of 15’1” and eighth in the 100-meter dash with a 13.30-second time.

Twelve-year-old Jazmine Tilmon of Suffolk wears the three medals she earned at the AAU Junior Olympic Games in Michigan last week. It was her best showing in the three years she has competed in the Games. She was awarded the medals for having placed in the top eight in all three of her events. (Tanya Tilmon photo)
Twelve-year-old Jazmine Tilmon of Suffolk wears the three medals she earned at the AAU Junior Olympic Games in Michigan last week. It was her best showing in the three years she has competed in the Games. She was awarded the medals for having placed in the top eight in all three of her events. (Tanya Tilmon photo)

“I think I did pretty good,” Jazmine said after having earned three medals. Medals were awarded to the top eight finalists in each event.

Jazmine’s father, Tony Tilmon, works closely with her, helping her develop her skills, and he was quite pleased with her third appearance at the AAU Junior Olympics.

“She did really well,” he said. “She did actually a lot better in some of her events than I thought she would.”

Jazmine was competing against 87 different girls in the long jump and at least 100 in the running events.

Tony Tilmon highlighted the unique up-and-down nature of track and field.

“You can win today and three days later you can lose to the same person,” he said.

He was proud that Jazmine “went out and she performed at her highest level.”

Timing is another key issue, he said.

“She’s getting real strong right now,” he said. “She had an injury earlier on in the track season, and she’s just getting healthy. She’s peaking at the right time.”

She suffered a knee injury last year and ended up having to go through physical therapy from September 2012 through the spring of this year.

Jazmine said she was able to perform as well as she did “because I’m always training, and I’m healthy. I work hard.”

However, her dad indicated that she was surprised in a few areas, because the competition in the 11-12 age range was at an incredibly high level at the Junior Olympics. A girl her age in the long jump pulled off an impressive 17’6” leap.

Tony Tilmon reminded her of what she did accomplish and emphasized the third “H” aside from being hungry and healthy.

“I told her, ‘You’ve got to be humble,’” he said. “’You can’t expect to come out and win every time.’”

He said he plans to work more with her on strength and endurance in the off-season, but he was happy to see her focused at the Junior Olympics, like he had trained her to be.

“Track and field is a selfish sport, and it’s an individual sport, and you have to remain focused at all times,” he said.

Jazmine credited her diet with helping her succeed, but she was happy to have a wish fulfilled after the Games were over.

“Because they were on such a strict diet during the season, we took them out for Detroit Coney Island hot dogs and chili cheese fries,” her father said.

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