All Gold Everything: Raiders in the Olympics | James Jett –

In his four years at West Virginia, he accumulated 1,384 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns with 1,620 return yards, totaling 3,076 career all-purpose yards. On the track, he was a seven-time All-American and qualified for the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona.

“It was kind of crazy because I can recall running against some guys back in ’90, two years prior to that, and they were in a different league. So I wasn’t really even thinking about it until it happened in ’92,” Jett said.

“It opened a hole that I could run with these guys and I was like ‘Oh my goodness what is this? This is uncharted territory’. And then actually competing and then actually getting on to the team, which was crazy. It was mind boggling actually.”

What Jett remembered most fondly about the 1992 Olympics was marching into the Estadi Olímpic de Montjuïc stadium for the opening ceremony. The track star was in awe of seeing “the big names and G.O.A.T.s” of the men’s basketball “Dream Team” which was headlined by Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley and Magic Johnson.

Fifteen days after the opening ceremony, Jett’s defining moment came – Aug. 8, 1992 – where he would be immortalized as an Olympic gold medalist. There was only one problem in Jett’s defining moment. What should’ve been a joyous occasion became somewhat jaded and bittersweet to say the least for the Olympian.

After competing in the opening heats, Jett’s spot was given to Carl Lewis, despite Jett initially making the team over him. While Jett didn’t race in the Finals, it still couldn’t take away his eternal status as a gold medalist.

“It was kind of different for me in a sense because I didn’t get to run the final race like I wanted to – because of all the political part of it and of course ‘King Carl’ and all of that.

“It took away a little bit but I was still proud of myself and who I was. To be in echelon and then to be among that same crew, to end up winning the gold medal. So I felt like I was right there with the rest of them. It was a great feat and a great accomplishment at that time in my life.”