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The Babe wasn't the last woman to win long jump-high jump double medals

June 29, 2010 | 12:18 pm
When Chaunte Howard Lowe won the high jump and finished second in the long jump Saturday at the U.S. Track & Field Championships in Des Moines, I wrote that it was a rare double and that Lowe was "believed to be'' the first woman since Babe Didrikson in 1932 to win medals in both events at the national meet.

The "believed-to-be'' qualification was necessary because no one in the press box had access Saturday to records that would provide a definitive answer.

I have one now, thanks to statistical-historical guru Glen McMicken, as relentless and gracious a researcher of the sport's records as you could ever find.

Lowe And while few women indeed have attempted the double in the last few decades, Didrikson was not the most recent to win medals in both.

That distinction belongs to Pat Daniels, who finished third in both events at the nationals in 1964, back when there was both a U.S. Championship meet and an Olympic trials in Olympic years. The national meet was of decidedly lesser importance in such situations.

Lowe said Saturday that she is considering the double at next year's world championships.

Provided she qualifies for the U.S. team in both by finishing in the top three at the 2011 nationals, Lowe would have a favorable schedule at the world meet in Daegu, South Korea, in late August. The long jump is Aug. 27-28; the high jump is Sept. 1 and Sept. 3.

The risk, of course, would be an injury in the long jump that deprives Lowe of a chance to compete in the high jump, by far her better event.

Lowe has the two best high jumps in the world this year (setting a U.S record with each, the latter 6 feet 8 3/4 inches Saturday).  Her top long jump Saturday (22-7 3/4) makes her the fifth-best woman in that event this season -- and it would have been far enough to win a medal in the last six world meets.

-- Philip Hersh

Photo: Chaunte Howard Lowe became the first U.S. woman in 46 years to win long jump and high jump medals at the same national meet, and her U.S.-record high jump was worth the $25,000 top prize for best performance in the 2010 Visa Championship Series meets. Credit: Andy Lyons / Getty Images