We had a nice interview with Jager.
Jager said the emotions in this one rivaled how he felt making his first Olympic team in 2012 and earning his Olympic medal in 2016.
Jager has won seven US steeplechase titles, an Olympic silver, and World Championship bronze, but he said the emotions as he crossed the finish line today rivaled anything he’d experienced in a race during his career.
“It was the same kind of emotions [as the 2012 Trials and 2016 Olympics] where I couldn’t even really keep it together until the finish line,” Jager said. “The emotions came pouring out of me.”
Jager’s injury woes began in 2018 when he fractured the talus bone landing in the water jump at the Zurich Diamond League, an injury that would go misdiagnosed for months and cost him the entire 2019 season. He was healthy again in 2020 but there were no steeples for him to race due to COVID. And by the time of the postponed 2021 Olympic Trials, Jager was hurt again, a calf injury causing him to scratch from the Trials. From August 30, 2018, to April 14, 2022, Jager did not finish a steeplechase.
Jager said he “definitely doubted myself more than I believed in myself these last four years” but refused to allow the doubt to completely take over.
“I never really ran into any major challenges in my career in the steeple,” Jager said. “And I thought a lot of times, I don’t think I could live with myself if I just gave up the first time it got hard…There was just always a little something in me telling me if I could just stay healthy and get back to solid training, I could get back to running at this level.”