After winning becoming the youngest woman to win an IAAF world indoor title in any event, Bishop Gorman senior high jumper Vashti Cunningham said in a television interview Sunday that she expected to turn pro. In a meeting with news reporters afterward, she said she was “pretty sure” that she was going pro.
Cunningham made it official this week when she signed a contract with Nike. Terms were not disclosed but her father and coach, former NFL quarterback Randall Cunningham, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that the deal was “very lucrative.”
The contract means she is no longer eligible to compete for Gorman and will not be able to compete in college.
“I’ve been thinking about turning pro since the Pan-American Junior Games (in August),” Cunningham told the Review-Journal. “I didn’t really want to at first because I was thinking, ‘Oh, college is right around the corner. I just want to go to college, have fun and be on a team like that.’
“But now that it got closer to it, I’ve kind of realized this would be a changing decision for me and that I should probably go this way.”
Cunningham, 18, is a top contender for the Summer Olympics in Rio in the high jump. The Olympic Trials are July 1-10 in Oregon.
She won the world indoor title in Portland with a jump of 6 feet, 5 inches (1.96). That was a week after she won the USA Track and Field Indoor Championship by clearing 6-6 1/4 to break her own national high school record and set the world junior mark.