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Tianna Madison's bid to defend world long jump title falls short


No one can foresee the strange curves and sudden turns life can take. Tianna Madison has learned this the hard way.
When Madison, an Elyria native, turned professional two years ago, the sky was the limit. She had burst onto the global track and field scene by winning her first world championship in the long jump as an amateur in 2005, then turned pro shortly thereafter.
But 24 months later, Madison has dealt with a series of frustrations. On Tuesday, she finished a disappointing 10th as the defending champion at the IAAF World Track and Field Championships in Osaka, Japan.
Olympic champion Tatiana Lebedeva won the event with a jump of 23 feet, ¾ inches, leading a Russian sweep of the medals.
For Madison, it signaled a time for reflection.
“It’s been a two-year buildup of stuff that’s gone wrong,” Madison, who earned the final spot in the finals with a leap of 21-71.2, was quoted as saying. “It’s just one of those track and field lessons that you have to learn, but I hate to have to learn it at the world championships. I just need to go back to the drawing board and figure out why it works instead of having to learn how to do it.”
The world championships are only the fourth meet Madison has competed in this year. She was fifth at the USA Outdoor Meet, first at the Modesto Relays and seventh at a meet in Madrid, Spain.
Madison has been training with Bobby Kersee and his wife, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, the famed three-time Olympic gold medalist.
Madison won nine state championships at Elyria High, including seven in individual events, and became only the third athlete in Ohio history to win four events at a state championship meet two years in a row, in 2002 and 2003.
Contact Pete Alpern at 329-7137 or at

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