Tim White missed out on qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics by approximately the length of a football.
At the U.S. Olympic Track and Field trials in late June, White recorded a personal best triple jump of 16.59 metres, which was fifth place — two away from the third qualifying spot at 17.01.
“Jumping was something I’ve always done and I wanted to go compete. I wanted to go out there and see where I was at athletically,” White said.
“A lot of people don’t know, but he almost missed some of the season because he was about to be in the Olympics,” quarterback Dane Evans said.
That difference in distance led to White attending Hamilton Tiger-Cats training camp on time and becoming the breakout star of the 2021 Labour Day Classic. The 27-year-old caught a team-high six passes for 93 yards, including a 57-yard touchdown for the first of his CFL career.
“That play we knew it was going to be a big one and he did his exact job. He’s an explosive receiver — literally has world class speed. It took me a little bit to get used to his timing because he is so fast,” Evans, who threw for 248 yards and two touchdowns, said.
“Dane threw an amazing football out there and Tim has the speed to go out and get it. he’s learning the CFL game and as long as he stays healthy, he has a chance to be pretty special,” head coach Orlondo Steinauer said.
White was jumping around celebrating with his teammates and it was the triple jump performance that boosted his confidence on the football field. He wanted to return to competition on the track and it recharged his compete level for professional football. Suiting up for the Ticats was his first regular season game since 2018.
That year he played three games for the Baltimore Ravens. White returned six kick-offs for 135 yards, nine punts for 75 yards and caught one pass for 14 yards. The five-foot-10, 175-pound Santa Clarita, California native had stints with the New York Jets and New Orleans Saints, but did not crack the active roster.
“100 percent I didn’t feel like I got an opportunity, but a lot of people would get up here and say so. If you go back and look at the tape, you look at the stats I put up, it was there,” White said.
“I’m in the present moment and I’m thinking about the team I’m on right now and that’s the Ticats.”
The holiday Monday stage was embraced by White as he played a key role in the 32-19 win against the rival Toronto Argonauts. His burst was evident, especially separating by a wide margin for what turned out to be a walk-in major at Tim Hortons Field.
“My fastest 40-yard time is 4.40 but I’m more of a runner that if I see somebody next to me, I run to win, that’s how I run,” White said.
The Ticats appear to have developed another diminutive play-maker who has world class athleticism, football talent and work ethic to match.