For us, the phrase isn’t just a hashtag or a tagline, but a powerful declaration.
A call to action.
An affirmation of excellence.
An aspirational ideal rooted in a relentless work ethic and a commitment to always improving.
We needn’t look any further for the physical embodiment of excellence than to behold Elmont’s own, Alexander Bowen Jr., a high jumper with dynamic and awe-inspiring talent.
High jump, by definition, is a track and field athletic event in which competitors must jump unassisted over a horizontal bar placed at measured heights without dislodging it.
Javier Sotomayor of Cuba set the world record for the men’s high jump competition back in 1993 when he defied gravity with a historic 2.45 meter (8 ft. 0 1/4 in) jump.
Alexander Bowen Jr., standing at 6’4″ and weighing in at 175 lbs., has a similarly promising future and is quite literally inches away from history.
He recently won the high jump meet at the highly competitive Penn Relays (with a winning mark of 2.19 meters/7’2 ft. 1/4 in) and is now training to qualify with Panama for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
We contacted Alex with the help of his sister, Elmont graduate, Catrina Bowen (’08), and were able to facilitate the following interview. Enjoy!
Talk about how you developed a passion for the high bar competition:
I developed a passion for it after my first meet, I saw how good the kid was who won and I saw how he captivated the crowd. From that moment on I wanted to be the best and take the spotlight. High jump is a constant pursuit of the perfect jump and I love it.
How would you describe your work ethic in preparation for a meet? Where does that work ethic come from?
When preparing for a meet I’m aware of how hard to work at the beginning of the week as well as making sure I’m fresh for the day that I compete. I always like to fine tune things the week of a meet. That usually consists of focusing on maybe one or two components of my jump.
My work ethic comes from my desire to be the best. If people are watching me I want them to see me win and I want to make my family proud.
It was your big sister, Catrina Bowen, who reached out to us via Facebook about your success. How has your family played a role in your remarkable athletic career?
My family has always been a huge part of my success because they have always been there at every meet that’s in a decent radius. At meets no matter how many people may be in the crowd I can always hear them cheering for me and it gives me that extra edge.
What keeps you busy when you’re not soaring over high bars and winning competitions?
I am currently in my last semester of school but besides that I spend a lot of time talking to my best friend, Aaron, and playing video games, to be honest. I recently started watching Breaking Bad and that also takes up a lot of my free time as well.
When did you leave Elmont Memorial High School and why?
I left Elmont after 10th grade in 2009. I moved up to Beacon, NY to live with my father after my two sisters graduated from EMHS.
You have dual citizenship — in the United States and in Panama — describe why earning dual citizenship is important to you.
My dual citizenship is important to me because it has really given me a chance to live and learn about my heritage. I have been to Panama so many times since I first got my dual citizenship and just learning about my family’s history and the history of Panama has made me much more appreciative of my family and everyone in both of my communities whether it’s in my mother’s hometown of Colon in Panama, or my closest friends in Elmont.
Are you heading to Rio this summer? What would a chance to compete in the 2016 Olympics mean to you?
My goal is to make it to Rio definitely. I believe I can do it, it’s just going to take a little more hard work and faith for me to get it done but I know I can. A chance to be a part of the Olympic games this year would be something I would’ve never imagined before. This has been a huge transition in my life over the past 7 years and once I got to college it has been the ultimate goal of mine.