Veteran Track Coach Daniel St-Hilaire believes the young man in this video is Canada's next great high jumper:
He’s Justin Darlington, aka Jus Fly, he’s 20 years old and he’s from Ajax, Ont.
St-Hilaire, an extremely passionate, if not a little quirky, track coach from Montreal, is convinced he’s got the country’s next great high jumper in Darlington.
He discovered him on the internet by googling “slam dunk basketball.” St-Hilaire found videos like the one above and couldn’t believe Darlington’s natural ability. Then he located him on Facebook and found out he was Canadian. St-Hilaire probably jumped as high as Darlington at that point.
“He was like a lost jewel,” said St-Hilaire, who once coached Canadian sprint star Bruny Surin, also a former basketball player.
St-Hilaire asked Darlington if he was interested in high jumping. It turns out that man cannot live off dunking alone, although Darlington has performed at halftime of a Raptors game this season and is currently travelling in Beijing with Team Flight Brothers.
When St-Hilaire told Darlington how much money he could potentially make as a world-class international high jumper, his reaction was: “When do we start, coach?”
The education of Darlington as a high jumper has begun, partly under St-Hilaire in Montreal and also here in Toronto under Gary Lubin, another of those incredibly passionate, quirky coaching dudes who helped develop Canada’s last great high jumper, Mark Boswell.
St-Hilaire notes Darlington has already jumped 2.01 metres after six technical workouts and believes this summer he can get up to 2.10 or 2.20. That's good as a starting point. To start competing internationally, he needs to be over 2.20 consistently.
St-Hilaire already has a golden glint in his eyes as he thinks towards the 2012 London Olympics. He points to Donald Thomas of the Bahamas, won won gold at the 2007 world championships, less than two years after switching to track from basketball.
“I feel Justin has more potential,” said St-Hilaire.