Superhumans Among Us: Defying Gravity

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Whether jumping horizontally or vaulting vertically, defying gravity is a tough task.

As two of the best indoor track and field student-athletes in the Southeastern Conference and the nation this season in their individual specializations, Jarrion Lawson and Lexi Weeks are up to the challenge.

While the Arkansas men’s and women’s track and field teams head to Birmingham, Alabama this week to compete in the 2016 NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championship, we’ll attempt to put in perspective how dominant Lawson and Weeks are in the long jump and pole vault, respectively.

We’ll stack up their personal best performances and career numbers against dimensions gravity-bound humans can relate to. Lawson and Weeks’ abilities are indeed superhuman, and here’s a spoiler alert: They can jump really far, and really high. The question is: How far, and how high?


Lawson set a personal record of 8.39 meters (27.53 feet) in the long jump during the 2014 NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championship. That jump is:

• longer than a 2016 Ford F-150 pickup truck, which is only 20.31 feet long
• longer than a standard 20-foot intermodal shipping container, which is 19.8 feet long
• longer than the distance of the NBA three-point line from the middle of the basket (23.75 feet)
• longer than some of the largest recorded great white sharks (26 feet)

Lawson’s 62 career long jump results amount to 474.14 meters, or 1,555.58 feet (.29 miles). That distance is good enough to jump:

• more than four football fields (120 yards each for 480 yards)
• the distance from the Frank Broyles Athletic Center inside Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium to the HPER Building (.30 miles)
• more than the length of nine Olympic-regulation swimming pools (164 foot long each)
• the entire length of more than six Boeing 747-800 jumbo jets (243.5 feet long each)
• 176 2016 Smart Fortwo cars lined up in a row (8.84 feet long each)
• well past the length of the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier U.S.S. Gerald R. Ford (1,106 feet long)


Lexi Weeks vaulted into Arkansas, NCAA and American records books during the Feb. 12 Tyson Invitational with a 4.6m (15.1 feet) performance. That vault is good enough to clear:

• a typical interstate highway overpass in an urban area (14 feet high)
• the pedestrian walkway on the west side of Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium adjacent to gates 4, 5, and 6 (14 feet, 10 inches)
• parts of Hadrian’s Wall, an ancient Roman fortification in northern England (10-11 feet high in some sections)

When we combine her 25 recorded collegiate vaults thus far during her freshman season, Lexi Weeks would have a combined pole vault height of 106.6m or 349.74 feet. This height is enough to vault over:

• the Statue of Liberty (305 feet tall)
• all of the tallest buildings in Fayetteville, including the Chancellor Hotel (195 feet tall)
Chimney Rock in western Nebraska (300 feet tall)
• more than the stacked height of 41 standard 20’ shipping containers (8.5 feet tall each)

Don’t miss out on the No. 2 men’s and No. 4 women’s Razorback track and field teams this Friday and Saturday as they take on the best competition in the world at the 2016 NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championship.

ESPN3 will stream the meet live on March 11 starting at 5:25 p.m. Central time and March 12 starting at 3:55 p.m. Central time. A re-air of the championship will take place on Sunday, March 13 starting at 6 p.m. Central time on ESPN2 and also Wednesday, March 23 starting at 9 p.m. Central time on ESPNU.

For more information on Arkansas track and field including in-meet updates, follow @RazorbackTF on Twitter and @RazorbackXCTF on Instagram.