Looking at your beginnings in
the sport, it's probably a safe bet that most people don't know that you were
pretty swift in track events. Can you detail your high school career for us?
My freshman year of high school I placed 13th in the triple jump at the Illinois State Championships. I had never even imagined competing at a meet like that before going, so when I came back the following year and placed 2nd it was such an amazing accomplishment for me. It put a fire under my tail and pushed me to a first-place finish the following year.
Collegiately, you did some outstanding things at Michigan St- finally specializing in the triple jump. Is this when you decided that you wanted to be primarily a jumper?
I actually didn't specialize in the triple jump in college. I competed on the 4x100m, 4x400m team and I ran the open 400m at multiple BIG10 Championships.
I even placed in the 200m at the indoor championship. Through all of this triple jump was always my focus and considered to be my primary event.
Post-collegiately, you decided to pursue a career in track and field and it has paid off to this point. Can you detail the initial highs and lows after graduation?
Pursuing track and field is no easy task. The first two years were full of difficulties and a lot of trial and error. I jumped around from job to job attempting to make ends meet as well as facilitate a career in my sport. Halfway through my second year, I was considering hanging up my spikes and getting a "real job". My coach at the time, Andreas Pavlou, really made it possible for me to continue to travel to meets and compete. After being invited to my first senior USA team at the London 2017 World Championships, my love for the sport was reignited and I realized this truly was what I wanted to pursue. My career since then has had other difficulties such as an injury and more recently adjusting to my new life in France.
Next comes some personal bests and then the American record (indoor and outdoor); your home base still in Illinois while doing most of the damage. Then you switched camps after the 2019 World Championship and moved to France. What was the motivating factor in moving to France? And are you still on good terms with your former group?
The motivating factor for that was that I wanted more organization in my training and a detail-focused regimen. The previous situation was exactly what I needed to get my career going and I learned so much during that time. I just felt like I needed a change to make another leap forward in my career. I am still on good terms with both my coach and previous training group. They just wanted what was best for me.
Now with the COVID-19 (Corona Virus) pandemic, you had to move back to the states. What was if any concern that you faced with this deadly serious issue while there and now back home?
While in France the issue relating to track and field was "where would I train?" The country issued a lockdown which included our training facility. The weather in France is not suitable at the moment to train outside, and this created a lot of uncertainty. Also, since I am not fluent in the language, it made it much harder to fully understand what changes were happening within the country. I felt like if I came back to the U.S I could stay in a warm climate state for a while and at least have a grip on how the issue is transforming.
As you move forward with your life and career, the Olympic trials and Games are in jeopardy, what are your plans?
As of right now I am still training and preparing as if the Olympic Trials and Games will go on as scheduled. If they end being postponed I will be ready whenever they take place. I'm also using this time to write for my blog at Tjfranklin.com/blog and complete my coming novel.