** PLEASE NOTE - as of printing of The Gazette, the Olympics has been postponed until 2021
by Danielle Golden Giglio
Twenty-four year old Jack Flood grew up in Blue Point, graduated from Bayport-Blue Point High School and is now on a quest to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics in men’s decathlon event.
He took some time away from his busy training schedule in Cary, NC to come home for a fundraiser in his honor at Cavanaugh’s. The local community packed into the backroom and most were dressed in red, white and blue.
Angela Stelling of Blue Point helped to organize this event along with Jack’s family. Her son and Jack ran high school track together and remained close friends. She has watched him grow and him progress through the years and said, “We hope we can give him a boost so he can make the US Olympic team. He has so much potential and we cannot wait to see what he can accomplish!”
Jack is hard to miss in a crowd, standing at 6’5” and at Cavanaugh’s he was beaming with hope and gratitude for the community’s support. On the day of the fundraiser there was an amazing coincidence of it being exactly ten years to the date he started track as a freshman at Bayport-Blue Point High School. That spring sparked the passion of this sport for him with the guidance of high school track coach Mike Zafonte. Jack said, “I do not know what Coach Zafonte saw in me but he drove me to levels that I never knew were possible.”
With no college plans Coach Zafonte really pushed Jack to further his education and track career. In 2015 he graduated from SUNY Cortland with a physical education degree along with winning two national titles in the decathlon. That is when he knew he had to continue onto the next level which is the Olympics.
Training for Olympic decathlon is a full time job. Jack thinks about it constantly and trains five hours a day along with prep work and recovery. He only has seven months to prepare for the Olympic Trails in June at the University of Oregon. He will be one of the top 18 athletes in the country competing for three spots on the Olympic team. The fundraiser is to help Jack with expenses like coaching, entry fees, travel, etc. so he can totally focus on his goal.
Jack was humbled and touched by the turnout at the fundraiser, “It shows how special of a community that Bayport-Blue Point really is. I am nothing without the support of the people around me.”
To donate to Jack’s Olympic quest go to www.gofundme.com/f/flood-usa-decathlon or follow his progress on Instagram @JackFlood