Since the 1990s, IMG Academy has been the training home of choice for elite Olympians from Michael Johnson during his back-to-back gold medal pursuits in 1996 and 2000 to 2008 400m Olympic gold medalist LaShawn Merritt readying for the 2012 London Olympic Games. Today IMG Academy is still the training home for Merritt, as well as countless others like 2012 4x100m relay Olympic gold medalist and 2014 IAAF Indoor World Championships 60m bronze medalist, Tianna Bartoletta, and Demetrius Pinder, 2012 Olympic gold medalist in the 4x100m.
In May 2013, IMG Academy added another level to its offerings with the launch of its high school track & field and cross country program.
Remarked Greg Phillips, IMG Academy Vice President and Athletics Director, “With the success we had in developing and preparing athletes for college and beyond, and the work we were already doing with all of our athletes from a speed, agility and movement standpoint, it seemed only fitting that we offered this program.”
The new program is led by world-renowned track and field coach, Loren Seagrave, who was already in place as IMG Academy’s Director of Speed and Movement. Seagrave is also a USA Track and Field Master Coach in the sprints and hurdles, as well as the IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations) Academy Director for sprints and hurdles.
“I have worked with athletes at IMG Academy for more than a decade, and all the while I was hopeful that we could expand what the Academy offers to high school student-athletes year-round,” remarked Seagrave. “With this new program, I am able to combine my years of experience working with high-caliber collegiate and professional athletes with IMG Academy’s cutting-edge technology and facilities to offer the world’s best college preparatory program for the aspiring track and field and cross country athlete.”
Over the years, Seagrave has worked with athletes at every level of the game – from aspiring juniors to collegiate runners to veteran NFL players and track and field Olympians. Past and present track and field pupils include: Angelo Taylor (four-time Olympic medalist, including gold in the 400m hurdles in 2000, 2008); LaShawn Merritt (two-time Olympic gold medalist in 400m, 4x400m in 2008); Joice Maduaka (six-time British women's 100m champion, four-time British women's 200m champion); Tianna Bartoletta (2012 Olympic gold medalist in the 4x100m); Demetrius Pinder (2012 Olympic gold medalist in the 4x100m); Dwight Phillips (2004 Olympic gold medalist in the long jump, four-time World Champion in the long jump); and Donovan Bailey (two-time Olympic gold medalist in 100m, 4x100m in 1995, 1996 World Champion in 100m). In the late 1980s, Seagrave also coached LSU’s Women’s Track and Field Team to five NCAA national titles.
The program is based out of the state-of-the-art IMG Academy Stadium. The multi-sports complex features: 5,000 seats with the ability to scale to 10,000; a professional-quality Bermuda grass surface with TV-ready lights; an 8-lane, 400m track and adjacent training areas for jumps and throws; a broadcast-ready press box with coach, press, radio rooms and hospitality suites; and a collegiate-style video board. Soon, IMG Academy will also open a 40,000 sq. ft. field house, complete with professional locker rooms, meeting spaces and offices. The new facilities complement other campus amenities which include: a state-of-the-art weight room and adjacent covered turf facility for speed and agility training; Gatorade Sports Science Institute; physical therapy clinic operated by the renowned Hospital for Special Surgery; biomechanical analysis center operated by Motus Global; five-story residence hall opened in May 2013; multiple dining facilities; and a wellness spa.
The Academy track & field and cross country program features college preparatory academics combined with sport-specific training and athletic and personal development in disciplines like leadership and nutrition. IMG Academy also offers year-round camps that cover sprints, hurdles, jumps throws and distance. Through the camps, any aspiring track and field athlete has the ability to gain access to the same athletic and personal development disciplines utilized by IMG Academy’s student-athletes and professional trainees for decades.
For more information about IMG Academy and the new program, visit: imgacademy.com.