COLUMBIA — What started as dedication to a sport has continued to be a way to stay in shape for Andy Gilmore.
Gilmore, 32, started high jumping when he was a sophomore at Southern Boone High School in Ashland. He continued the sport all the way through college at University of Central Missouri. In 2005, he was a volunteer assistant at MU. Then he took a break.
He resumed high jumping in 2007, but it was just a hobby. Gilmore never envisioned himself jumping for as many years as he has.
"It's a way for me to be motivated, keep in shape," Gilmore said. "It's a physical competition against yourself."
His fourth time at the Show-Me State Games, he said he was competing "just for fun."
"This is one of my worst meets," he said.
Gilmore's personal best jump is 7-feet-2-inches. He has competed in U.S. championships in 2009 and 2013.
"I also tried out for the Olympics in 2008 and 2012," he said. "I just missed the cut. But jumping against the best in the U.S. has been really good."
There are two driving forces that keep him going and continuing to jump: his personal belief that he has not yet jumped his best, and his coach.
"The coach I have now, Wayne Armbrust, has been a pushing force," Gilmore said. "He has this belief that I can go out and jump higher than I have before."
In addition to being a high jumper, Gilmore coaches Landon Bartel, a high school student from Southern Boone High School.
"I try to coach by example," he said. "That is another reason why I have continued to jump — I can show the athletes what I am talking about."
When he is not jumping or coaching, Gilmore works as a software developer at StorageMart in Columbia. He has been working there since 2005.
He said his co-workers find it hard to understand why he continues to jump. His response: "A lot of it is for the love of the sport."