Amy Lyn Acuff (born July 14, 1975, Port Arthur, Texas) is a track and field athlete from the United States. A high jump specialist, she competed in the 1996, 2000, 2004, and 2008 Summer Olympics as a member of USA Track and Field.
Her best Olympic performance came at the 2004 Games, where her jump of 1.99 m earned her fourth place in the final.
She established herself domestically with wins at the USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in 1995 and 1997. At the age of 22, she became the Universiade champion, edging out Monica Iagăr in the 1997 high jump final. Acuff was the winner of the 1998 Hochsprung mit Musik meeting in Arnstadt, Germany, becoming the first non-European winner in the history of the event. She went on to win at the national championships in 2001, 2003, and 2005.
Her personal best is 2.01 m, which she achieved in Zürich on August 15, 2003.
While in high school in 1993 she was named the named the national Girl’s “High School Athlete of the Year” by Track and Field News.
Amy Acuff’s high jumping journey started at an extraordinarily young age in South Texas.
Amy Acuff At age five in the summer of 1980, Amy could be found at the track stadium competing in A.A.U. sprint races. 50 meter, 100 meter, and 200 meter races, which were specially organized for kids five and under, were her first introduction to sport.
As her track and field exploits diversified, Amy took up other events and was a quick study. In 1985 she set an A.A.U. national long jump record for age 10 and under with 14’1″. From this breakthrough accomplishment, Amy’s determination would only grow.
At Calallen Middle School in Corpus Christi, Texas, Amy would first be introduced to the high jump as a “filler” event to pick up extra points for the team. With exponential improvement, her 8th grade season would culminate in the amazing performance of 5’8-1/2″. The mark set at age 13, would have been competitive at the high school state championships.
In addition to her early track and field success, Amy also excelled at basketball throughout her grade school years. In 1990, Amy’s freshman year of high school, Head Coach Leta Andrews would lead her perennial state power club all the way to the state championship. Amy had the good fortune to witness this great victory firsthand, as a sideline contributor.
Amy continued to flourish under Leta Andrews’ tutelage and support through high school athletics. Even without the technical instruction of a high jump coach, Amy would find an independent strength at this level. It was that same freshman year that would find Amy thrust upon the national scene with an incredible leap of 6’0″.
For the duration of her high school campaign, Amy would methodically go about capturing each separate national high jump class record:
* freshman (1990: 6’0″)
* sophomore (1991: Texas state record 6’2-1/4″)
* junior (1992: national record 6’3″)
* senior (1993: re-establishing her national mark at 6’4″).
Amy’s astonishing jump of 6’4″ at age 17, incredibly defeated an international field. On a cold and rainy night in Innsbruck, Austria, she remarkably topped the three medalists from the then recent 1993 World Championships. This was in her final meet of high school eligibility.
For her efforts, she was named 1993′s Gatorade Prep Track and Field Athlete of the Year, edging out the likes of Marion Jones. This prestigious honor, while also managing to stay focused academically and finish as her high school’s Salutatorian.
After high school, Amy accepted a full athletic scholarship to UCLA. There, she had the great fortune to train under the elite mentorship of coaches Bob Kersee and Jeanette Bolden. Without even blinking it seemed Amy quickly became part of their circle of success.
At UCLA, she would earn a degree in Biology in four years, while also complementing her golden track and field resume. While a Bruin in 1995, Amy jumped 6’6″ to establish a new collegiate record. This was on her way to 4 PAC-10, 3 NCAA Indoor, and 2 NCAA Outdoor titles.
Post-graduation, Amy remained in Los Angeles to train full-time. Being so close to the bright lights of Hollywood provided the opportunity to pursue part-time modeling. On select occasions she combined her eccentric flair for fashion with her athleticism by wearing non-traditional outfits while competing and attracting attention to a sport, which often times goes unnoticed.
The success Amy found on the track at UCLA, combined with her subsequent resiliency on the professional circuit, has now established her as one of the world’s elite for more than a decade.
She has finished ranked #1 in the U.S. three times, and been ranked no lower than 3rd in the nation for each of the last ten years.
Amy has been ranked in the yearly top 10 in the world on five occasions. Her honors include two Olympic games, in Atlanta 1996 and Sydney 2000.
She is now a Licensed Acupuncturist in Northern California and married since 2004 to pole vaulter Tye Harvey. She trains under Coach Dan Pfaff at an elite track and field training center in Stockton, California with about 20 other athletes. The training center, known as Tri-Valley Athletics track club, has been a big passion, with the objective of giving athletes a place to train and receive quality coaching after college.