Singing long jumper Jazmin Sawyers follows in The Beatles’ footsteps

(CNN)Jazmin Sawyers is the singing long jumper, treading in the footsteps of The Beatles on her alternative pathway to Commonwealth Games glory.

The English long jumper’s immediate task is to go one better than at the last Games in Glasgow where she picked up silver.
But never far away from her trusty guitar, Sawyers’ musical ambitions are no less lofty.
    She recently recorded the English hymn “Jerusalem” in the Abbey Road Studios made famous by the Beatles, along with other members of England’s Commonwealth team on the Gold Coast and British musician Tokio Myers.
    The recording involved a 54-piece orchestra and a small choir, with gymnast Max Whitlock, para-swimmer Ellie Robinson and divers Jack Laugher and Lois Toulson also delivering vocals along with Sawyers.
    Adapted from a William Blake poem — “And Did Those Feet in Ancient Times” — the hymn “Jerusalem” was put to music by Sir Hubert Parry in 1916 in an attempt to boost morale during WWI.
    The official anthem for England’s Gold Coast Games team, “Jerusalem” is also the song played at podium ceremonies at the Commonwealth Games when an English athlete has won gold rather than British national anthem “God Save the Queen.”
    For someone who has covered Ed Sheeran — with the singer’s approval — and appeared on the British music TV show The Voice last year where she was coached by — the “Jerusalem” project still proved a daunting one for Sawyers.
    “Despite feeling way out of my depth in a musical sense, it was a real honor to be asked,” Sawyers told CNN Sport.
    “Not only do I love the anthem, I love the song and how could I not jump at the chance to combine my two loves — sport and music — like that.”

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    ‘Special experience’

    It is seven years since the 23-year-old Sawyers first sung “Jerusalem” when she taught the words by her grandmother just in case she ended up on the top step of the 2011 Commonwealth Youth Games podium, which she did twice.
    If it’s a song that has long resonated with her, the Abbey Road experience taught her that if she wants to pursue a musical career as well as a sporting one it will be a steep learning curve.
    “It was really intimidating,” she admits. “It’s very humbling to work with such amazing musicians and showed me I’ve still a lot to learn in music.”
    Sawyers is the ultimate multi-tasker. A former heptathlete and a one-time bobsledder, she also has a university law degree.

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    To pursue her athletics career, she shifted her base over the winter from Stoke-on-Trent in northwest England to sunnier climes in Florida to work with the American coach Lance Brauman, who mentored the former US sprinter Tyson Gay among others.
    She says she’s gone from “basically training on my own to joining a 20-strong group of world-class sprinters.”
    The adjustment hasn’t been easy but she is now confident of picking up a first global title when her event gets under way with qualifying on Wednesday.
    “I wouldn’t be an athlete if I wasn’t going out to the Gold Coast hoping to win,” she says.
    If she does win gold, singing the anthem is likely to be a piece of cake.

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    Marissa SafontSinging long jumper Jazmin Sawyers follows in The Beatles’ footsteps

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