For the Journal
Whether it was high school, NCAA or the international stage, Olympic Champion and Corunna native Derek Drouin jumped to new heights, and has landed in the Hoosiers Hall of Fame.
Indiana University vice president and director of intercollegiate athletics Scott Dolson announced six new members to the IU Athletics Hall of Fame, this month. The 40th class boasts 249 inductees.
Drouin (Men’s Track and Field, 2010-13), joins Aleksey Korol (Men’s Soccer, 1996-99), Christina Loukas (Women’s Diving, 2006-09), Tina McCall-Waters (Women’s Tennis, 1978-81), George McGinnis (Men’s Basketball, 1970-71), and Larry Rink (Team Physician, 1980-present) who will be officially inducted at the annual Hall of Fame dinner on Friday, Sept. 22.
Drouin set the bar high in his three years with IU’s Track & Field team (2010-2013), and is arguably one of the most decorated track and field athletes in IU history.
He is the only student athlete to win five NCAA championships in high jump (three indoor, two outdoor); he won seven Big Ten titles; was a seven-time All-American; and a three-time IU Male Athlete of the Year. In his senior year in 2013, Drouin won the Bowerman Award as college track and field’s top performer, regardless of event, as well as the Jesse Owens Big Ten Male Athlete of the Year.
Drouin was also only the second Hoosier to win NCAA titles in both indoor and outdoor track and field in one year, joining Glenn Terry, who won NCAA titles in the 55m and 110m hurdles in 1993. He also still holds the indoor (2.35m) and outdoor (2.38m) records for high jump at IU.
Alongside his many NCAA accomplishments, Drouin reached success on the international stage as well.
While attending university, he had huge success competing for Team Canada. Despite surgery to repair three torn ligaments a chipped bone in his foot in 2011, Drouin won gold at the Crystal Palace Aviva Grand Prix in London with a jump of 2.26m, and bronze at the Monaco Herculis with a jump of 2.30m, leading up to the 2012 Olympic Games.
At the 2012 Olympics in London, Drouin became the 14th Track and Field athlete in Hoosier history to win an Olympic medal as a student, picking up the bronze medal with a jump of 2.29m.
That would eventually be upgraded to silver in 2021, after Ivan Ukhov was stripped of his gold for a doping violation.
In 2016, he stood atop the podium as the Canadian national anthem played, earning gold at the 2016 Olympics in Rio. This marked the first individual Olympic gold medal in track and field by an IU alum, since 1956, when Milt Campbell won gold in the decathlon, and Greg Bell in long jump.
Medals and records are not his only contribution to the sport. Drouin, alongside his college coach Jeff Huntoon, also introduced many innovations to high jump — most notably, how to approach the bar. In 2016, the New York Times published an in-depth breakdown of Drouin’s technique.
Instead of accelerating towards the bar, the six-foot-five Drouin moves at a slower and more deliberate pace, taking larger strides and allowing him to plant his jumping leg more firmly and transfer energy more effectively.
In 2016, Drouin returned to where it all began.
“In this very gym is the very first time that I ever tried high jump,” Drouin told staff and students at St Joseph’s Catholic School.
“I was sitting exactly where you were sitting when my dreams of going to the Olympics started.”
Drouin started out like any kid with a dream; and through hard work, became an OFFSA Champion and MVP at St Patrick’s Catholic High School. From there, the sky was the limit, dominating the NCAA and capturing world championships, along with Olympic gold and silver.
Drouin would try to get back on the Olympic stage for the 2020 Tokyo in 2020 Olympic Games, but was forced to withdraw as his body was not ready after finishing the European Athletics season.
The Indiana University Athletics Hall Of Fame induction ceremony is set for September 22; the class of 2023 will also be celebrated during half-time during the Indiana-Akron football game the following day.